Locked Out

Some days just have more crap in them. I mean this both literally and figuratively, especially living in Budapest. There are stinky little (or not so little) reminders of the presence of dogs ALL over the sidewalks here. I still have yet to figure out why this is. It’s not like Budapest is the only city with dogs. But every city has a collective personality and I think Budapest’s personality is like those people you meet who don’t seem to realize that their actions have consequences for the people around them. Very stinky, gross consequences.

But as for the figurative use of the word ‘crap’ to describe my day. It started out as a pleasant one. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t have to go to work today, which meant that I slept in, took my time showering, primping, etc. I decided to take out the trash, which is a bit of a chore because we live in an apartment with a separate entrance from the rest of the building. So, when I’m alone, I have to lock the door outside, get into the main building, drop off the trash and unlock our door again from the outside.

I grabbed my shoes and went out. When I came back to unlock our door, IT WOULDN’T OPEN. There’s this weird sliding bolt thing on our door and it’s been acting funny since we moved in, but we had always been able to get in before. This time, the sliding bolt would not slide. And I was outside without a coat, a phone, or any money. In a foreign country. At least I had my shoes.

I just stood there for what seemed like 20 minutes, but probably was more like 5. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know the apartment management company’s number or anyone’s number for that matter. And Chris is in Berlin, so I couldn’t even walk over to his work and see if he could open the door. As I stared at the door trying to demand it to open with the power of my mind, I noticed an ad taped to it stating that there was an apartment for rent in the building. It had the number of the real estate agent on it. Ah ha! I could call the agent and see if they had the number to the management company! I ripped the ad from the door and started walking…somewhere. I figured I would have to walk all the way to my office to get to a phone, but I passed by a travel agency. Maybe someone there spoke English…

Sure enough, someone did, and after a few phone calls and lots of me saying (okay, probably shouting like a stupid foreigner) “I LOCKED OUT. NO, I HAVE KEYS. DOOR NOT WORKING. NO, YOU CAN’T CALL ME BACK. NO PHONE. NO COAT. PLEASE COME NOW. NO, I SAID I HAVE KEYS. KEYS NOT THE PROBLEM. DOOR NOT OPENING” I finally got someone to say they would come see. In an hour. So, I had time to kill and nowhere to go. I couldn’t even go and sit in a coffee shop because I had no money. I felt like a homeless person. To keep warm I would go into a store and walk around until the owner would start to look at me funny, no doubt wondering why this woman was walking around without a coat in January and not buying anything. So I would move on. One more hour of that, and I probably would have started digging through the trash to find cans to recycle.

But, finally the guy came, and after lots of gesturing he determined that I was not a stupid foreigner who didn’t know how to unlock a door. At one point we thought maybe we were going to have to break through one of the windows. I bet you’d like to have seen us gesturing about how we would do that in our respective languages. Funny times, let me tell you. Then, through sheer brute force, the guy managed to bust through the door. I was really hoping it would look like it does in the movies, where all it takes is one swift kick and the door pops wide open. But, alas, it was a lot less exciting. It was full body weight into the door more than a dozen times. Not exactly cinema-worthy.

But, I was in! The guy fiddled with the lock for awhile and, shockingly, determined that it was not working and needed to be fixed. And then he said, or at least this is what I surmise that he said, “In the meantime, I would suggest not using this bolt.” Sound advice, my friend, sound advice.

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows |


  • one of the blondies

    Oh LB, what a challenge. Argh, I started to seriously have cold shoulders (like I pulled them toward my ears) as you described being outside with no coat. Brrrrrrrr. But, glad you are safe and sound inside what looks to be a LLLLLOVVVELLLLY new pad! Congrats and see you soon!

    Comment | January 30, 2009
  • sarah sampedro

    Unbelievable. I don’t think you really went to live in Budapest, I think you and Chris ran away to live in the movies. Maybe one of those horribly frustrating comedies like Meet the Fockers.

    Comment | February 1, 2009
  • Oh dear… I can’t even imagine… and yet I can. If Budapest feels like Berlin is right now– you had to be soo cold! And the language barrier. Oh dear. I know how that one feels.
    It sounds like you and Chris need to come to Berlin together so we can have a reunion/meet up! I will definitely be headed to Budapest though. Just try to get the door fixed by then, okay?? Hugs…

    Comment | February 1, 2009
  • LL

    Man oh man, this is not the way to spend a day off! At least you didn’t have the added stress of being late to some appointment. But I wanted to mention that Berlin sidewalks are also littered with doggie-do. I was told that it is considered to bring good luck when you accidentally step in it–which seems highly counter-intuitive. But I think is supposed to made you feel better, somehow, when you find a mushy surprise underfoot. Glad you made it back inside!

    Comment | February 3, 2009
  • OMDog. That’s simultaneously hilarious and sympathy-making!

    My favorite part, being the language nerd that I am, is thinking about the language barrier. I suppose both you and the door-fixer had SOME familiarity with each other’s language, but wow. That would be awful. Especially without a coat, or a phone, or money.

    Comment | February 4, 2009

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