Shit happens to everyone. In my case, shit happens once too often. And when it comes, it comes not like a tide, but like a tsunami. As they say, when it rains, it pours.. (I’m not sure whether they mean the metaphor in the good sense or the bad..but whatever)
So, it seemed that fate got bored today and recalled it hadn’t played its cruel game with me for some time now. I got myself locked out of my apartment despite my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with doors. However, probably because fate was nice to a certain individual whom I threatened to drag along with me on my troubled journey, the incident was not as dramatic as my earlier trysts with unwarranted trouble. But it is definitely worth mentioning.
It all seemed to be another mundane day just like any of the days this week, partly because I really don’t have anything to do apart from hunting for a job, now that I graduated. The previous day, I had decided to start watching Lost. I started right from Season 1, which thankfully was in Hulu. After a marathon session of 5 episodes yesterday night, I woke up pretty late today morning. But I couldn’t help but watch another episode in the morning, so I quickly rushed down to get some cornflakes, and then started watching Lost Season 1 Episode 6. After that, I did my morning round of job applications, then decided I’ll clean the kitchen and throw out the trash. Yes.. Cleaning is my way of taking a time out.. (But I clean my own stuff, so don’t ask me to clean your apartment!)
I had trash bags in both hands. I was too lazy to climb up to get my wallet, which has the house key. I thought, the dumpster is just nearby; I’ll just turn the latch on the knob so that the door remains unlocked. I have this OCD of checking like 10 times if a door is locked whenever I leave anywhere. This time it was just that I checked if the knob was rotating from outside like a 10 times, before closing it. I quickly dropped off the trash and returned back, thinking that I will take a bath now and cook some delicious food. To my horror (yes.. I get horrified even if this happens to me time and again), the door knob was not turning. I was locked out!
Now I was in a real tricky situation. The door won’t open. My key was inside the apartment. Of the three people who had keys to the apartment, one had gone to India, one to Seattle and one was in Welcome, NC, about 2 hrs drive from my place. My cellphone was inside. My wallet was inside. I didn’t have a car. I was in a creased tee and shorts, hadn’t taken bath, had a stubble of 3 days on my face, an oily face and ruffled hair. I was like a homeless!
How did the door get locked despite me checking so many times? I kept wondering. The first thought which came to my twisted mind was that some thief saw me stepping out and jumped in to steal my stuff. He might’ve locked it after he escaped with my stuff. I said to myself, “Yeah right.. That’s one courteous thief who locks the door behind him when leaving. Use your brain, moron!” So I ruled out that possibility. (Well! Not completely, as you will know soon!)
I tried my luck with the back door, but that was obviously locked, so I couldn’t open it. Panicking, my next step was to call Srikanth, who was the nearest person with the keys. For that I needed two things: his number, and a cellphone to make the call. I needed a savior. Of course, there was my savior and friend extraordinaire right opposite to my apartment. I rang the doorbell of Lakshmi’s apartment, mentally listing out my course of action, starting with using her cellphone. I heard the turning of some latch for a second. Something was wrong! Generally they secure their door with like 20 locks and keys, so I always hear turning of latches for about 5 seconds before they open the door. Their door is like a safe. Anyway nothing was wrong other than she thinking that I was not in a presentable state to be let in (:P). I said it was an emergency, and she finally let me in.
I told her what happened, and being the nice person she is, she offered to take me all the way to get the key and back. “Oh yeah.. she does have a car”, I remembered. I was visibly tense, because I think she asked me about 8-10 times to sit down, but I didn’t sit down. I kept wondering if the thief was still hiding in my apartment, locking it from inside (even more ridiculous!), so I kept peering through her window towards my apartment in the hope that I could catch the thief when he comes out. She made me some Bournvita, and narrated everything to her roommate, Priyanka. Priyanka, with her Gujju brains, came up with the idea of trying to pick the lock with a hair pin. I recalled that I’ve opened some doors using credit cards. So equipped with a hair pin and a credit card, we headed back to my apt. If we could avoid the 4 hour journey, it would be great. Would I get lucky in my misery?
We tried the card first. But the door was too tight for the card to fit in. Then we took turns and tried with the hairpin. Priyanka must’ve thought “What a geek!”, because I managed to wise-crack about how the tumblers inside the key work, and how lock-picking works, in the middle of all this. Alas! But knowledge is not everything, because both of us failed. I started contemplating the inevitable, when another group of friends saw us and came to check what the deal was. Don (Or was it Mavila?) suggested trying to slide the windows. If we are lucky enough, they might be unlocked. Sure enough, the kitchen window was unlocked. It was a tiny one, but I managed to climb into the kitchen. By that time, Priyanka had figured that the front window too was unlocked, and had climbed in through there.
Thus, I broke into my own apartment. I was in cloud nine. Lakshmi was also glad that she didn’t have to drive all the way and back. Yes! There was this small worry that we had forgotten to latch our windows, so any thief could have easily climbed in all these days. But it ultimately saved my day.
I mean, it could’ve been a lot worse
- The windows would all have been latched in which case we would have had to make that 2+2=4 hour journey.
- Suspicious neighbors could have called the cops when they saw us trying to break in
- My apartment could have been on the second floor, in which case I would have needed a ladder to climb in through the window.
We decided to have a lunch outside together. I didn’t bother changing. I asked Lakshmi if I look okay to go outside.
She said, “You look a beggar”.
“A happy beggar”, I said to myself.