The Kindness of Strangers

I should have known that things were going to be “off” at the Apartments of Eternal Christmas this week as soon as I saw this:

Oh. No.

After 1 year and 9 months of solo living, I have done the thing I have been fearing most: I locked myself out of my apartment while going down to the laundry room.

You see, I am paranoid about always having my keys and my phone on me even if I’m just running downstairs for 2 seconds. I don’t ever leave my apartment unlocked and I always make sure keys are in hand before leaving. I guess I was a bit distracted due to preparations for kittens (more on this later) so I did not realize I was without my keys until I was 3 feet from my door – which was far enough away that when I turned around, I could not reach the door before it slammed.

No keys. No phone. Just dirty laundry, detergent, and quarters.

One of the things I like about my apartment building is that people are polite but private. I don’t know why but not really knowing my neighbors or feeling pressure to know my neighbors has been in the plus column. It’s the introverted-extrovert in me, I suppose. So I was less than pleased when I realized I was going to have to knock on doors of people I did not know for assistance. The universe was at least conspiring to be sure that I wasn’t in my usual laundry room state (read as: no bra, slippers, and acne cream) so that when I knocked on a stranger-neighbor’s door, I didn’t have to be ashamed of being locked out while awkwardly-yet-strategically crossing my arms in front of my chest to poorly hide the bra-less-ness.

I hear the TV on in the apartment directly under me, so I knocked on the door. The dog barked and I waited a moment but nobody came. So I knocked again.  And this is how I met Neighbor Paul – formerly known as the-guy-who-impressively-and-enthusiastically-washed-his-car-in-a-thunderstorm.

When I told him what happened, he gave me his phone in order to call our property manager.  But he didn’t have the number. However the universe ALSO conspired to have me locked out on a day when repair flyers had been distributed so our property manager’s number was everywhere.

Now not only did Paul give me his phone for that call but – because our landlord did not pick up – he insisted that I keep the phone for 30 minutes until I got a call back, told me to do my laundry, and said he’d find me later.  And not only did he find me later sitting on the front stoop waiting for The Unlocker to arrive, but when he found me, Paul brought me booze.

We chatted about the apartment building, the neighborhood and had started to scratch the surface of work when The Unlocker in the form of Edwin The Repair Man arrived and my new neighbor-friend and I parted ways.

BTW – Edwin is my favorite repair man and he gets called to do everything from repair leaky sinks to SCARE RACCOONS OUT OF PEOPLE’S APARTMENTS. For serious. He once got a call from folks on the first floor after a raccoon wandered in because they had left their un-screened window open. Very concerned, I asked him if he called animal control. He said “No. I just make LOUD noise.”  Edwin is also very sweet and super friendly so only after many repairs and conversations – and now one unlock – did he finally tell me that my demon-cat scratches repairmen when I am not around. He felt the need to stress that it only happens when I am not here.  I digress…

Anyway, I now sit in my apartment WITH my keys, a Straw-ber-rita, and with a new friend made; and I am once again impressed and touched by the kindness of strangers.

YES.

YES.

 

 

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