Under the heading of ‘What can go wrong, will go wrong’, the last 12 hours have been interesting. It felt a little like we were Tina Fey and Steve Carell in the movie ‘Date Night’. How can so many things stack up against you?
We were spending a quiet evening at home watching ‘Drunk History’ on Hulu. We weren’t even drinking, but apparently it made Jeff thirsty for a beer.
‘Let;s walk down to the Nagini (not the real name) and have a beer.’
I don’t drink beer, but I said ‘Sure, as long as I don’t have to change out of my pajama pants and my Georgetown t-shirt and my Birks.’
Jeff acquiesced – he’s used to my eclectic attire on the street. And so are our neighbors. Over a beer and a bottle of water, we free associated about some of the real estate listings and the potential for our favorite one. Kitchen remodels and the like. It’s got property to put other buildings on the site. He wants to find a way to convert some classic cars to electric and he could have a garage. Then Jeff had another great idea.
‘Let’s go down by the Creative Space and look in the windows of the kitchen/bath remodeling place that sells high end finishes. It’s almost on our way home.’
So we took a small detour and looked in the big windows and picked out our favorite finishes. As luck, or coincidence, would have it one of our favorite places to enjoy a night cap was near by. Keep in mind, I’m still dressed in, essentially, my pajamas. And this place is hipster central. So all I had to do was own the look and I was good to go.
After a Jameson con hielo, we were ready for bed. Time to hit the hay. Only 9 blocks to walk home. We could do it in our sleep. We got to the building and Jeff first checked one pocket, and then another. And then he checked them all again.
‘You have the keys, right?’ he said to me.
Fire nearly shot from my eyes. ‘Uh, No. You have them. When we left I said ‘You have the keys right?’ and you just rolled your eyes at me and said ‘Like I always do.’ So, No – you have the keys.’
Except he didn’t.
‘I must have dropped them.’
So we marched back – it was getting cold – to the packed hipster Benimachlet watering hole and asked the bartender if any keys had been turned in. She checked with the other bartenders and shook her head.
Then we marched back to the Nagini. The chairs and tables were stacked up. It was closed up tight. I looked at Jeff. ‘Any thoughts?’ He had none. My mind started going through potential options. None of the first few were doable between midnight and 1 am.
‘I guess we’re going to a hotel.’ I told him.
‘I think that’s kind of extreme’ he said. But he had no other ideas. And we weren’t going to wake up friends with our instant, middle-of-the-night homelessness. I hailed a taxi and had the driver take us to an area with a bunch of hotels. We couldn’t reserve a room on Expedia or Booking.com on my phone because it was after midnight. We would have had to wait until 4pm to check in. We needed heat and a bed right then.
In the US, walking into a hotel and saying you need a room is not that big a deal. We do it on road trips. But here, it’s not really done. You call or reserve online or through a booking service with a credit card. I did this once in Milan with my friend, Stephanie, and it was frowned upon. You don’t show up in your pajamas and Birks with just your wallet, and a tall dude, at 1am and say ‘Got a room?’. And you know how I know this? Because the first 5 hotels we tried all looked at me the same way. Like I was a Hooker and the tall Scandanavian Lurch character looming behind me was my client. I really wanted to say ‘Look. If I was a Hooker, I’d be a lot hotter, and a lot smarter about getting a room than showing up in my pj’s, because if I was a Hooker I wouldn’t need pj’s. Just take a minute and think it through.’ But I didn’t.
By the 6th hotel I had my speech ready and I was able to conjure a tear that said – ‘Help us.’ The old guy took pity on us and gave me a room. He didn’t bother to ask for Jeff’s NIE card – just mine. Which told me he was pretty sure I was a Hooker but he was willing to look the way to fill the room for what would now be just 8 hours at the max. He asked if I preferred to ‘pay cash’. So, yeah.
In the morning I messaged our landlord. He was out of town but was willing to come into Valencia to let us in. But we’d have to wait until noon. In the meantime, Jeff suggested we go back to the Nagini since they’re a cafe and open for desayunos (Breakfast). We walked our 10,000 steps back to the cafe from the hotel (I’m still in my pajamas from the night before). No, they haven’t found the keys.
I’m cold now. So cold. So we head to our local El Horno (bakery) across the street from our apartment and wait until noon for our landlord to arrive. At noon we head to the bench in front of our building. Javier is always on time. Noon comes and goes. No Javier. 1 pm passes and I message him. Nothing. Finally at 1:30 he messages me. He was in an accident on the motorway and he will not make it. He apologizes profusely. Luckily, his wife and kids weren’t with him.
‘I will call my brother-in-law. He sometimes has success getting that door open. If that doesn’t work I will call a lock-smith. He will call you in moments.’
I didn’t want to ask why his brother-in-law had broken into the apartment enough times to warrant the ‘sometimes has success’ title.’ But he didn’t call or message me. We just waited. and we got colder. Neighbors who had seen me the night before in my pajamas were giving me looks. Usually, I have very little shame but even I started feeling weird. I left Jeff there and went and sat on a bench a block away, shivering.
The landlord messages me asking if I’ve heard from his brother-in-law. I said No. Then he texts me. ‘He’s just looking for a bone scan. Then he’ll be there.’
What?! A Bone Scan? To Javier: ‘I don’t know what that is. But if it works I’m happy,’
‘It’s radiology.’ He responded. Like that cleared it up. So this guy was getting an x-ray machine to break into our door? What the actual…? Could this get stranger and more difficult?
Finally, the brother-in-law calls me. He and his son are on their way. I am in the lobby with Jeff when he arrives and Jeff lets him in (he had followed a neighbor in).
‘Kelli’s Husband?’ he asks Jeff. I love that he called him that. I look him up and down. I don’t see the promised x-ray machine. He’s just carrying an actual x-ray image. He looks me up and down and is rightly alarmed at my disheveled, pajama’d appearance. I need a shower.
We all get in the elevator and head up to our front door. He holds up the x-ray.
‘Usually, I like to use a much bigger one, but this is all I could find. We shall see if this works.’ And he starts shaking our door. Then he slides the x-ray between the door and the door jam. He instructs his teenage son to wail on the door, over and over, while he slides the x-ray up the door jam, slowly slowly. Zip Zap – the door pops open! He kisses me on both cheeks, shakes Jeff’s hand, gathers up the little dog he had brought with him and says ‘Vamos’ to his son, and they take their x-ray/bone scan and leave.
We head into the house that is blessedly warm. A shower is in my sights. Then I look over, and what do I see? Jeff’s keys are on the entry hall table. He didn’t lose them. HE FORGOT THEM!!! When I asked him if he had them and he rolled his eyes? Yeah. That. But I have no energy to throw it in his face. This tired Hooker needs a shower and her beauty sleep. And I don’t even want to think about how much worse it could have been. But I know one thing. Screw keys. I’m never leaving the house without a bone scan again.