I encountered a pretty serious obstacle on Thanksgiving Day as I attempted to exit my house – my fantastic Hulk-level hand strength snapped my key in the lcok, leaving the lower half stuck in the deadbolt. I know you’re thinking that I probably dissolved into a fit of “O’wailey woe, whatever shall I do,” but I didn’t. I just exited through the front door, which I then had to leave unlocked because the key was broken. I turned my alarm to “more sensitive than a soap opera heroine on extra estrogen” before I left. I have a strong suspicion that this tactic may have been futile as I have personally accidentally triggered my alarm so many times that the operators at Simply Safe don’t take codes coming from my house with any kind of seriousness:
Them: Ma’am are you safe? Do you need us to send the police?
Me: Oh hi, Sharon! I did it again. How was your son’s birthday last week?
Sharon: Hey, Abs! It was good. We had Iron Man at the party. How did your column come out?
They’re really more of an extended family.
I got my spare key from the G.P. (Great Provider, my Dad) which solved the front door locking issue. I’ll admit that part of me wanted to resolve the rest of the problem by never using the backdoor again, but every time I advanced this option, I heard the Rev’s voice in my head saying, “FIRE EXITS ARE IMPORTANT!” This is especially true for me. I once set a kitchen ablaze trying to make toast.
When the backdoor doesn’t work, I have to walk all the way around the side of the house (maybe 100 feet) to get to the garage. I’m so dramatic that I walked the short distance each time like I was in a gulag on the way to a dinner of rotten potatoes and rottener vodka. The neighbors get upset when I hunch around with a scarf tied over my head syllabically singing Russian funeral dirges. I didn’t want to wind up neighborhood weirdo on Nextdoor.com (again).
Now many of you fine folks have the means and motivation to just call your friendly neighborhood locksmith when this happens. Not me. Wikihow gave me a solution in three simple steps:
1) Spray inside the keyhole with penetrating oil (there is actually a brand of grease called “Penetrating Oil.” Dad has some. The graphics on the can are disappointingly unfunny).
2) Return the key to the “unlock position” using needle-nose pliers.
3) Remove the key. If the key does not come out, use a small saw blade to “rake” the key free.
It was one of the easiest fixes ever. I returned Dad’s tools to him and he hit me with a, “Good job. Did you get a new key made?”
Now it should be noted that I used to have loads of extra keys until my brother got ahold of them and then moved them to Hawaii and later Germany (my spare keys are having quite the vacation). Other copies were relegated to various odd key chains and strange metal boxes. There are probably more keys in existence for my doors and gate than there are copies of the Twilight Saga. Giant books about wussy vampires (while being much less useful) are considerably easier to locate, though.
I felt bad that Dad didn’t have a key. It was Black Friday, however, so I wasn’t inclined to go anywhere. The fact that I wasn’t hiding under my bed drinking boxed wine and watching all the Star Wars movies on my laptop represented huge personal progress for me. I loathe stores, shopping and crowds with a ferocity most reserve for root canals. I again turned to Google.
An independent locksmith had a store that was actually really close to my house! “Problem solved,” thought I, imagining how proud my father would be. Google said that Lock Doc was open 24 hours a day, which seemed a bit generous, but surely they would be open at 2 p.m. on a Friday. I drove over to the store only to find the cinderblock building sealed like Fort Knox. There were no windows on the front of the building – the only possible entrance was a solid steel garage door pulled down and double locked. “How the heck do you get in there?” I thought. You couldn’t even go around back because the way was blocked by a six-foot chain link fence.
This guy was the smartest locksmith in the history of the world. He knew that every lock can be defeated (because that’s his job), extrapolated from that premise and came up with the idea to make fewer entrances. I decided that you could only get into the shop through secret (possibly interdimensional) portals, at least one of which was probably on the roof. A complicated system of boobie-trapped subterranean tunnels certainly provided further access. Also, the pictures on Google made it look like the only thing the store sold was keys and two ton safes. Try hauling one of those bad boys though a secret (probably interdimensional) hole in the roof! This guy was the Indiana Jones of locksmiths.
A few days later, I figured out from Facebook what the actual operating hours of the store were, and headed over there to have my keys made. The steel garage door had covered a regular-as-snot glass door. I admit disappointment. I was sincerely hoping for interdimensional-roof-portals.
I awkwardly tried to tell the clerk my incredibly-rad-unified-theory-of locksmithery, but he looked at me like I was insane. “People just walk in here all the time,” he said (in a gently confused tone), “even when the OPEN sign is turned off.”
My disappointment must have been noticeable because, as he handed me my latest set of spare keys he allowed that, “They are pretty dang serious about locking up around here” which confirmed my Interdimensional Roof Portal theory.
“You betcha,” I replied with a joyful wink.
I can’t wait to go back so that I can stare at their ceiling. It won’t be long before I have to visit.
My latest set of keys is probably already on safari.