Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baron Classic

I am the proud owner of a shiny, new Baron Classic residential lockset. This stylish brass five-pin doorknob was hand-delivered and installed in my front door just this evening. And how did such good fortune find me, you may ask? Well, rather than spoil the ending of this story, read on and have a laugh at my expense.

My commute home from work this afternoon was almost a carbon copy of yesterday’s joyless journey. My tired and worn windshield wipers fought the steady, cold rain in unison like two gritty soldiers standing against an advancing army. I hunched forward, gripping the wheel with anxious fists as I strained to make out the shapes of blurry vehicles and struggled to find the center line. Fourteen miles later and after a stop at daycare, my son and I were home and playing happily on the living room floor.

The boy's merciless cold and persistent cough had raised eyebrows at the school. When I reported their concerns to my wife, she immediately scheduled an appointment with our pediatrician. The time came to leave and our scramble to leave the house was less than orderly. Where was his hat? He won’t let me put his coat on. No, the new booster seat is only for when we eat. Where is that stinking hat? Is the juice packed?

The three of us seemed to be moving in opposite directions but somehow managed to exit the house simultaneously. With the chilly rain pouring down, we dashed for the protection of the dry Hyundai, more ark than car in the deluge.

Right about the time I buckled the boy into his car seat, my hands frantically went to my pockets and my mind reeled with the realization that my keys - keys to car and house - were twenty-five feet away, resting benignly on the rail behind my locked front door.

“Do you have your keys?” I asked my wife, already knowing the answer.

For a brief moment, and I mean brief like the time it takes to slam a car door shut, I found the situation quite humorous. But the kid had a doctor’s appointment, my wife is 30 weeks pregnant, the weather was putrid, and my keys were not in my hands. I cursed and stomped as I circled the house looking for an easy entry point. My yard was by now a network of cold pools of water and my suddenly moist feet reminded me that my leaky shoes needed replacing.

I gave the sliding glass door a good shake, but the wooden rod in the jam did its job and kept me out. I tested the screens on the front of the house, but they weren’t budging. Knowing the windows were locked, I didn’t want to damage the screens unnecessarily. My stomach knotted as my options dwindled and the predicament worsened. I hopped back into the car just as my wife reached a locksmith on her cell phone.

My wife is at her best in situations requiring quick action. While I was scanning our rock garden in search of a stone big enough to smash my kitchen windows, she was dialing for professional help. According to the voice on the other end of the line, our rescuers would arrive in 25 minutes.

The boy entertained himself by pretending to drive, by fiddling with the lights, by climbing back and forth from the front to the backseat. It got colder. My wet feet were losing feeling. We called after 30 minutes and were promised the guy would arrive in ten minutes.

The three of us began to get restless. The boy was done exploring the confines of our cell. My wife was checking the time every few minutes and craning her neck every time a pair of headlights approached. Our neighbor pulled in while I was out of the car waiting to flag down our locksmith. He politely asked if we’d like to come in and wait. Like the ridiculously daft imbecile that I am, I replied, “Thanks, but the locksmith should be here any minute. We’re having fun waiting for him.” Ha! Fun?

After yet another call, we were told he’d be there in 20 minutes. We sang some goofy songs, we played peek-a-boo around the headrest, we cuddled under the blanket, but still no one. Finally, the boy had had enough. He was clawing at the steamy windows and crying to get out. We sucked up our pride and decided to seek shelter with the neighbors. Our locksmith pulled up in a SUV shortly afterward and I stepped out to meet them.

I love locksmiths. They don’t show any I.D. and they don’t ask for any I.D. They just roll up with some tools and start working. These two were no different. With thick Middle-Eastern accents and the stale smell of cigarette smoke, Yoseph and his apprentice made quick work of my lock.

Yoseph attempted to unlock the door using two inflatable pads that the other guy had jammed into the door frame. That was the cheap option, I was told. Of course it didn’t work. Yoseph retrieved his power drill from the vehicle and pointed to a spot just above the keyhole. He pressed the trigger and the bit entered the metal easily, too easily I thought. Yoseph pointed out each pin as it popped under the drill bit’s spinning force. And with a final snap the door was open.

I chose to have a new doorknob installed rather than rely on just the deadbolt for the night. After seeing how easily a lock could be defeated, I wanted to have both locks in place.

So after over an hour trapped in a cold, dark car with wet feet, I signed my name to a $315.00 check and bid farewell to Yoseph, his partner and their nondescript vehicle. I even got a little advice with his exorbitant fee. “Try not to forget your keys next time.” Ah, wise words, wise words my friend.

At least I have a shiny, new Baron Classic residential lockset to remind me to check my pockets before pulling the door closed next time. Pray that you can be as lucky as me.

1 comment:

  1. I once had an experience with a bounty hunter whose back seat was filled with those "locksmith tools." This guy went around and reposessed cars. Somehow I trusted him, in this little NC town where I was visiting for a Habitat meeting, to unlock my car door where I had left my keys on the seat. In the 100 plus temps., he did so, and because I worked for a "good Christian organization" he did not charge me. But, those tools! His backseat was full of them!!!