Ok, maybe not “breaking and entering,” but I’ve lived in NY long enough to have locked myself out of my apartment several times. When it happens, the pattern of despair goes something like this:
- This isn’t happening.
- I know I took the keys.
- I pat my pockets, my clothes, my underpants (why they would be down my draws I have no idea).
- I retrace my steps. Still no luck.
Finally, I radically accept that I screwed up. My heart has already plummeted to the same depth that it did when a past partner dumped me out of the blue. But I’m an adult. Life goes on. Or so my fortune cookie said.
I grab my cellphone to call for a locksmith. Big problem though. I don’t have my cellphone because I never took it with me. Right now, it’s sitting on my coffee table. And it’s ringing. And I’m panicking. The person calling is none other than my new date. (Or maybe the Publishers Clearing Guy?)
Life’s ending. I’d give up a piece of my soul to get back inside my apartment. I kick, punch, shoulder-slam, scream, but it’s no use. My door doesn’t have so much as a scratch on it. My cellphone stops ringing. I slide down my front door on my back. I bury my head in my hands.
Then a neighbor pulls up and asks if everything’s all right. I shake my head. He’s understanding. He hands me his phone. I smile in gratitude. I call the locksmith only to discover he wants $300! But I don’t have $300! WTMF!
I hand back the phone. Neighbor leaves me. As he does, I smell something BURNING! I jump to my feet and remember I had bacon cooking on the stove. I could hear the fat sizzling (and I’ll be damned if it didn’t smell delicious). More panic. I bang and kick the door, stop, pray, then go back to kicking and screaming.
Abruptly, my neighbor comes back with a sledgehammer. I’m wondering why he would own a sledgehammer. Then again, it’s NYC. Anyway, my neighbor shoos me aside and wails-off on my door. Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang. Incredibly, it’s not working. My door was built to withstand a battle tank.
My neighbor stops sledging my door. He looks down and we both see smoke wafting up from under the door. Before my heart explodes, my neighbor, being smarter than me, calls the fire department. Now why didn’t I think of that? — because I forgot to take my cellphone!!!
Within seconds, the fire department shows up. Not one, not two, but an entire squad. With an industrial crowbar, they gain entry into my apartment and, voila, I’m in. I cut off the stove. Run the frying pan under the sink. Open all the windows. Thank the firemen, who all shake their heads as they leave.
I munch on a couple of burnt bacon bits. Mm. Only problem, the sledgehammer guy never left. I thank him and indicate he should leave. Instead, he holds out his hand, showing his palm. So I give him a slap like JJ Walker and say, “Dy-No-Mite!”
It’s only when my neighbor rubs his fingers together that I realize he held out his hand to get paid. I’m indignant at such a cheap shakedown. But I give him a ten-spot anyway. My neighbor looks at me with menace. I’m about to tell him to take a flight off the roof until I remember he’s holding a large sledgehammer. I give him another ten-spot. He leaves.
I close the door. Shake my head. See my cellphone on the coffee table and run over to it. I grab it, press “play”… and realize it’s not the person I wanted to call me. It’s my grandmother. She wants to know if I’ve been behaving myself. Long sigh.
Now what do I do? Hm… maybe I can win a reward, like a free pizza, just for venting.
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