A Locksmith. A Dog. A Pizza Guy.

June 30th, 2009 by Melina

Oh yeah. And two dead bodies. 

This really wasn’t something I was expecting to tweet on the last day of school (or ever): 

“Having an unfortunate incident wherein I can’t open my front door. Locksmith on the way. Pizza guy for whom I couldn’t open door is pissed.”

Let’s rewind a bit, shall we?

It’s the last day of school. I’m on three hours of sleep, thanks to the eighth grade graduation and a messed up train schedule. I’ve had more work than I can handle. I haven’t been feeling well and have barely eaten in two days. The end of the year is emotional.

Blah, blah, blah.

This usually nice, Jewish girl is such a wreck she’s ready to start calling on Greek Orthodox saints and kissing icons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not something that I, being a Nice Jewish Girl and all, personally do. 

(Although my friend Diane says that if I ever want to convert, she’ll provide the kiddie pool for my baptism and make a video of the ceremony. Now that’s a friend.)

Well, I confess that the words “Ag, Panagia Mou” have escaped my lips more than a few times and I am thisclose to crossing myself frantically and perhaps lighting a candle or two. 

Again, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I digress. Just trying to set the scene. 

So I leave school, all teary and emotional, and get on the Subway. I make a plan. Pizza and a Buffy marathon.

Yes, as we know, Chez Mel is party central

Party plans are looking good. Favorite pajama bottoms and Yankees t-shirt? Check. Glasses instead of contacts? Check. Pizza? On its way. I fire up Hulu, and wait.

Pizza Guy finally arrives. 

And that’s when the afore mentioned “unfortunate incident” begins. 

You see, New York apartments, it’s been said, are basically columns of dust held up by 125 years worth of paint. And my apartment, well. . . in spite of the nice neighborhood, leaves a lot to be desired.

My front door won’t open. At all.

Now, I’d like to believe that Pizza Guy wants to be helpful. I really do. Except for his English? Not so hot. . .

He pulls. I pull. He pushes. I push. 

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. 

I even take a screwdriver and take the doorknob off. (And feel quite handy, if you don’t mind me saying so.)

He asks for my keys. I pass them under the door. (Don’t yell at me. I know that’s unsafe, but I know this guy. I order from this place all the time. And let’s face it. It wasn’t like I believed the door was actually going to open.)

I end up paying him under the door, which is actually a lot less illegal than it sounds. He takes the money. Unfortunately, he also takes my pizza. And my change. At least he returns my keys.

I call my landlord. Press “2” for emergency. I get a recording telling me to call the emergency number in the lobby. 

And therein, we find our problem, as the lobby, as you can imagine, is on the other side of my front door. Luckily, the super’s number is in my phone.

Or not.

Somehow, in the whole syncing process that I have yet to understand, my iPhone has deleted a bunch of contacts. 

At this point, I’m thinking of forgoing the Greek Orthodoxy dream and becoming Amish, as they don’t have iPhones. At least as far as I know.

I’m proud to say that I then proceed to do what any mature thirty-one year old would do. I call my mother at work. Do I care that she lives 3,000 miles away? Not so much.

And then I get onto Twitter. Hey, can you blame me for for wanting company? (Hi Tweeps!) I get the sympathy I need. Or rather, people laughing at my plight, which is the next best thing. And hey, I even have the fabulous Tori Carrington, creator of all things Sofie, cheering me on. How cool is that? 

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I’m still locked in. Mom and Tweeps, supportive as they’ve been, have yet to rescue me. So, I turn to Google. I enter “locksmith” and my zip code.

I dial the first number that comes up. Locksmith gets all worked up. “You can’t get out?” he askes. I realize he’s more upset than I am. I also realize he’s Isareli.

He’s just gotten home, but turns out “home” is just a few blocks away from me.

A few minutes later, I hear my name being shouted through my front door. I realize then that some total stranger, presumably with experience in the Isareli army, is picking my lock. I can’t even see him.

But at least I know that if he murders me, my tweets and my in Internet history will lead the cops right to him. 

A few minutes after that, he shouts my name again. “Melissa!” He then says, “This lock is broken.” (I’d let you know how I wanted to reply to that, but I prefer to keep this blog G rated. You never know.)

“I know,” I tell him. 

“I’m going to have to saw it.”


This brings us to my next two tweets:

“Did you know that some dogs don’t care for locksmiths who saw off doorknobs? Just saying…”

“And y’all know how flipping LOUD some dogs are…..”

The sawing is successful, and the door opens. Locksmith barges in and finds me, in my afore mentioned Buffy watching, pizza eating attire, holding a convulsing tricolor cocker spaniel who’s trying, but failing, to show his teeth. He checks out my obnoxious purple fingernails (hey, it was a graduation gift to my 8th graders, long story). 

Poor Locksmith, a sweet guy in his 60’s, is drenched in sweat and manages to look more war torn than I do. There are doorknob guts and tools all over my doormat, 

Pizza Guy chooses this  very moment to come back with the pizza. But not my change.

I feel like I’m staring in a pilot for some cheesy new sitcom. 

Anyway, while Locksmith finishes up whatever it is he has to do, he tells me about how he used to live above my laundromat, before it was a laundromat. 

Then he tells me about the two dead bodies he once found in front of the restaurant on my corner. “The neighborhood is much better now,” he assures me, before explaining how proud he was to be the one who called the police.

He also tells me about the tricolor cocker spaniel he once bought at Macy’s. Somehow, I like this story better, especially since he gives me tips about cleaning the fur on cocker spaniel ears with a mixture of vinegar and water.

Imagine the amusement of Israeli Locksmith when he finds out that my tricolor cocker spaniel’s name is Hamudi (cutie, in Hebrew). He gives Hamudi several commands in Hebrew, which Hamudi follows beautifully, thus giving his mother nachas and many opportunities to kvell.

Locksmith announces that he’s not even going to check my ID because he believes the apartment is mine (as if I’d break into an apartment, put on pajamas, lock myself in – and then order pizza). Eventually, he leaves. “Lehitraot!” I call after him. He compliments my Hebrew pronunciation. 

I’m left with a hole in my front door. But I repair it like the capable, single woman I am. I even think my handiwork is prettier than the original dead as a doornail doorknob. It’s kind of like the way I once fixed a broken USB cable with a hammer and a bunch of girlie stuff. 

I’m happy to report that I now have a shiny, new doorknob. It rocks. Too bad I’m moving in two weeks and won’t be able to enjoy it for years to come. 

How sad is it that more than one person has commented that this is “such a Melissa story?” Do I even want to know what a “Melissa story” is? I think not.

By the way, Locksmith was disgusted at the poor quality of the lock AND how poorly it was installed. Which brings us back to the subject of New York apartments and landlords.

So here’s another story for you. (Thanks Karen, for reminding me about this!)

Posted in Classic Mel, Mel In Manhattan, Mel's Favorite Posts, New York Living

4 Responses

  1. Cynthia

    Trust me, the Amish have no iPhones, or Hulu, or pizza for that matter so I don’t think it’s much of a lifestyle for most of us “English.” I think that’s what the Amish call the rest of us at least.

    Glad you can laugh about it now and you showed more restraint than me. I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from being a smart ass when the locksmith said the door was locked. But I’m like that. And now, not only do you have the warm concerns from Tori Carrington (I’m more than a little jealous) but now you’ve got a great scene for a future story.

  2. Karen


    I missed this post back when it was actually happening. But, now that its over, it is SO, SO funny – not to mention worthy of a novel scene.

  3. admin

    See, I’d love to use it in a novel. But I was thinking it qualifies as one of those things that happens in real life but wouldn’t necessarily be believable as fiction.


    Maybe with a lot of dramatization. Not that it needs to be more dramatic, but you know what I mean.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. » Blog Archive » My Not So Secret Fantasy

    […] So. Last time we talked, I was all wrapped up in the last day of school and I’d dealt with an unfortunate incident wherein I got locked in my apartment. […]

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