I was walking up to our apartment building recently when I came upon Roger (name changed to protect the innocent), a tenant who lives on the first floor, who had propped open the front entryway door. He had his keys out and was trying to get one of them into the lock, but it looked like he was having a hard time doing so. Part of me wondered what the issue was, but the other part of me just wanted to get past him and go about my business. It's not that I don't want to help someone in our building out, it's just that I'd rather not have to deal with Roger. Allow me to explain.
Roger is a retired gentleman with an Irish accent and a chip on his shoulder (I believe it's some really decadent type of chocolate). He can be abrasive, nosy and, most of the ladies in the building tend to agree, downright creepy. He seems to always be around when something in our building is happening, like construction, deliveries or when you're checking your mail. Sometimes he'll be standing outside of our building, and you'll be walking down the sidewalk toward him and he stares at you the entire time with these eyes: lifeless, black, like a doll's. I've been down in our laundry room alone and he'll come down and just stand in the doorway to it, watching me, waiting for me to acknowledge him so he can begin a conversation about the weather, or how to get your whites their whitest, or what works the best to get someone else's blood out of your clothing.
So you can see why I was hesitant to ask Roger what was wrong with the door, but curiosity got the best of me. I asked him what the issue was and he replied, "I can't get the key in the fookin' door! I've tried and tried, even sprayed WD40 on it, but it won't work." I tried my key and had the same problem, then an older married couple who lives on the 5th floor came off the elevator and we had them try their keys with the same result. I rang the Super's door (he lives on the first floor), but got no answer. So we all decided the best temporary solution would be to duct tape the lock open until the Super could fix it. Roger grabbed some out of his apartment and taped the door while I went into our place and tried the Super on his cell phone.
I found out earlier in the day that the Super was on vacation visiting his home country of Montenegro, which is just West of Kosovo (the country that John Stamos and the Beach Boys sang about a while back), and that his father was covering for him until he returned. So my phone call gets answered by SuperDad (I know nothing of his parenting skills, this is just to make it easier for you and for me) and I explain what's happening with the entryway door. He tells me he just left the building and that his key worked fine, and I tell him that myself and 3 other people were having the same problem. He tells me he's out at another building and won't be able to check on it until the next day, and I explained that there could be a lot of, or perhaps all of, other tenants who might not be able to get into the building until he fixes the door. He reiterates that he can't make it in until the next day and asks me what apartment I live in so he can test out my key once he's there. I tell him I have to work the next day, he confirms when I'll be home and the conversation ends.
Cut to about 8:30-9 o'clock, roughly 3 hours after I spoke to SuperDad. Olivia is already in bed and Jodi and I are eating dinner while catching another episode of 'Orange is the New Black' on Netflix (good stuff), when our door buzzer rings. We look at each other, wondering who it might be, and I go to answer it. I open the door and there's SuperDad leaning against our door frame, lit cigarette in his hand (the nerve!), giving me a hard stare and doing his best James Dean impersonation. Now if this was the 50's, and I was a teenage girl wearing a poodle skirt, I'd jump into his arms and we'd ride off into the sunset in his Porsche Spyder with my head on his shoulder. But this is 2013, I'm married and he's thin, scruffy and a foot shorter than me (totally not my type). Plus we both wear glasses so you know they'd be constantly clicking and clacking into each other when we made out, which is a total turn off. "You called about front door?" he asked. "I did," I replied. "Bring key, come with me," he commanded and disappeared into our hallway. I grabbed my keys, giving Jodi a shrug as I headed out the door.
I caught up with SuperDad and we both headed towards the stairwell. As I followed him down I noticed there was a giant cockroach on one of the steps he was about to land on. He stopped, leaned over, PICKED IT UP with his bare hand and then continued on down the stairs like nothing had happened. I'm sorry dude but that was a cockroach, not a quarter, you just found there. Gross! Thankfully he didn't put it in his pocket, and I saw him duck into the first floor trash room to dispose of his lucky cockroach before heading to the entryway door.
He opens the door and I notice that the duct tape that Roger had put on it was gone, so something obviously changed since the last time I saw it. I pull out my keys to try them and SuperDad says, "Give to me." He takes my keys, finds the correct one and...slides it right the fuck into the lock with no problems whatsoever. Then he turns to me and gives me this look like he thinks I'm inept or just stupid and says, "It works." I say, "Ok, it's great that it's working now, but I'm telling you that it wasn't earlier." He motions for me to come into the entryway as he shuts the door behind us. "Let me explain something," he says as he reinserts the key into the lock. "You cannot turn key this way to open door. You have to turn this way." So according to him the entire 2 and a half years that I've lived in this building, in the same apartment, using the same keys, I've not been able to figure out which way the key turns to open the door. Go figure.
At this point I'm astounded, stunned and flabbergasted (we call those 'high-fallutin' words 'round these parts). I'm astounded that this guy picked up a cockroach with his bare hand, stunned that the door works just fine and flabbergasted that this guy thinks I'm an imbecile that can't work a lock and key. I take a step back and exclaim, "I've lived here for over 2 years, I know how the key works." He takes another long, hard look at me and asks, "Are you scared of me?" OK, that's it. Spider-sense has gone way past tingling and is now in full blown 'get the fuck out of here' mode. It was at this moment in time, this small event in my history here at this building, that I wondered where in the HELL Roger and his serial-killer gaze were. The one time I actually wanted the guy to be around so he could confirm that his key wasn't working either, and he was nowhere to be found. Maybe he was off somewhere shrinkwrapping someone to a table and plotting their demise.I calmly explained that, no, I wasn't afraid of him (kinda was) and that I just wanted to convey that I wasn't the only person with a problem getting into the building that day. He re-opens the door, hands me my keys back and says, "It works now." I thanked him, scrambled up the stairs hoping to not find another lucky cockroach and somehow miraculously remembered how to unlock and open our apartment door. If only he had been there to see how good I was at doing that. Maybe he would have offered me a ride in that Porsche.