Today’s adventure was to lock ourselves out of our apartment. Our lock is one of those 19th century skeleton key affairs, where there’s an actual keyhole you could peak through (but I don’t think anybody would be interested). When you come in, you stick the gigantic skeleton key in the lock from the inside, and when you leave, you take the key with you.
Only today, we got out on the landing, I closed the door, and didn’t have the key. It was still in the lock on the inside of the door. I messaged our landlord, he said he was 100km away and he would send the cleaning lady. After a phone call with her, he messaged us back that she would be there in an hour. Maggie and I ran a couple of errands, and in an hour we were back waiting for her. She arrived on time, with her husband Alessandro, who spoke no English, but he had an extra key – which was no good, because our key was still in the lock. The two of us poked at the keyhole with my jack knife, trying to knock the key out, but with no luck. Finally I pulled out my phone and Googled “locksmith near me.” The first few were closed on Sunday or were disconnected numbers, but the fifth or sixth one (Chaves Espresso – that sounded promising) answered the phone, I said, “chave?” [“key” – I had learned that one word]. I heard “Sim” [yes] and handed the phone to Alessandro. He asked the appropriate questions, and asked me, “seven nine?” I thought €79 was a reasonable price under the circumstances, and instantly agreed.
Meanwhile, Maggie had decided that she needed a ladies room and a stress reliever, so she went off to the corner cafe to drink a glass of wine. There she found a hostess who took an immediate liking to her, and gave Maggie a full escort to the ladies room door (with the hostess’s arm wrapped around Maggie’s waist). Later, at a table with a view, Maggie got involved in a lively conversation with four Croatian coeds. I think it’s safe to say that Maggie had forgotten all about being separated from her money, a change of underwear and a bed for the night. She was making lemonade like it was going out of style.
Back at the apartment, the cleaning lady, our upstairs neighbors, some Fado singers from across the street, a confused Uber Eats deliveryman and a stray dog had gathered to watch and wait. Maggie had returned and quickly became Facebook friends with the nice young man from Bangladesh who runs the souvenir stand next door. (She also scored a couple of bottles of water for herself and the cleaning lady.) Alessandro had gone off to help the Chaves Espresso man find a parking place. He returned, with Mr. Chaves Espresso in tow, who sprinted up the stairs, squinted in the lock, whipped out a tool and had the door open in seconds. I paid him in cash and he was on his way.
So all in all, it was a good day that started badly. Maggie and I got a lesson in keeping perspective of life’s problems, and met some interesting people that we wouldn’t have otherwise. I just have to keep an eye on her and that hostess.