Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Door Story

Something happened here at Bryant street recently. To understand it, you'll need a couple background stories.

First was several weeks ago when I sent a short list of things that needed to be fixed in the apartment to my super, including the fact that my bedroom door wouldn't stay closed unless locked. He came in and decided the best solution was to give me a new lock. He installed it and gave me a new key, letting me keep the old key as a souvenir.

Next was about a week ago when I was having drinks with a couple guys who were from Cape Town originally. I told them I was living in the neighborhood of Bo Kaap.

"Ooh. Pretty place. Dangerous though." One said. I was a little surprised, I'd thought it was a very safe place. "Yeah," he said, when I told him that. "Well I had a couple friends living there, they had stuff stolen out of their car twice and their house was broken into. So be careful up there."  He did at least assure me that they'd never been mugged.

A few days after that, earlier this week, I was eating breakfast when Natalie, one of my five housemates, asked if I was going to be home in the afternoon the next day. I told her I was going to be at work. She looked perturbed and asked what I was going to to about "the visit." When I asked what visit, she asked if I'd checked my email. I hadn't. Our landlord was apparently showing someone around both my room and Natalie's since we were both moving out soon, and asked us to leave our rooms unlocked. She's the most security conscious of us and didn't like the idea, but I assured her it'd be fine for one afternoon.

Now, our house isn't big. The layout is like so: immediately after walking in the glass entrance door you'll find the room of my Swiss-French housemate, Hubert, who spends a lot of time here with his brother, Fabian. When they aren't working in high end hotel consulting, they're surfing in Muizenberg. After walking past his room you'll enter the small common area with kitchen and dining room table. To the left again is French hospitality intern Amandine's windowless bedroom, and down a short hallway to the left is German wedding business intern Natalie's room. Then are the two bathrooms before you get to the glass doors to the back porch. There is also a set of stairs leading up a floor and to the back of the house. At the top of the stairs, furthest from the front entrance you will find the room of Duy and Slobo, the German-Turkish Model and her German-Serbian stuntman/stage fighter husband, and opposite that, my room. All the rooms have individual locks with very old fashioned looking keys.

Short version: closest to the front door is Hubert, the ladies are in the middle, and furthest from the door are me and the married couple.

So, that night, about 4:30am, I wake up to a loud banging on the front door. My first thought is someone is very clumsily trying to attack us or break in. I figure Hubert will be the one to take care of it, since hes closest to the door. But it keeps going, and going, and going. Finally I hear room door downstairs open, and then the front door, then Amandine and Hubert talking rapidly in French. After a few minutes of this, I get out of bed and stumble downstairs to see what's up, followed shortly by Slobo, who said he was about ready to beat up an intruder.

There were Hubert and Fabian, who explained that they had lost their keys. I was the only one whose number they had, and my phone was off. They were the ones who had been banging on the the door until Amandine had let them in.

So they'd gotten into the house, but not their room. Hubert needed to get his laptop out of there for work, where he was supposed to be in a few hours.

While they pondered, I stumbled over to one of the bathrooms, since I was already up anyway. While I did my business and thought about looking up lock picking techniques, I heard three more loud bangs, but not on glass this time.

Here's what I found when I came out:
That's Amandine and Fabian. When Hubert stepped back out of the hole he'd kicked in his bedroom door (which apparently is made mostly of cardboard), I was the one to tell him the landlord was showing someone the place in twelve hours.

I'm not sure how the viewing went the next day. I wasn't there. I don't think any of us were.

But I do know that, to add even more insult to injury, we later tried both my room key and my old room key on Hubert's room on a whim. The second one fit the lock perfectly.

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