Last night as I returned home around 12:30am (my usual arrival time after work--I am rapidly becoming completely nocturnal) I was understandably surprised to discover that the entire sidewalk in front of my building was blanketed with broken glass. Much more than could come from a busted car window, or even a busted store window. It was as if a glass factory had exploded overhead, and its shattered entrails were now crunching beneath my feet as I made my way warily toward the entrance. The path leading to the front door was similarly strewn with glittering detritus, though here it had been swept up against the walls, like so many leaves in a gutter.
The door to the building was open. I entered, checking my mail as if all of this were a completely pedestrian state in which to find my home, then turned to discover that the floor, and the stairs leading up to my side of the building, were soaking wet.
I stopped at the bottom of the stairs to scrape broken glass from the bottom of my boots and glanced up at two men standing outside the first apartment.
"So, er... what happened?" I asked casually.
"Fire, on the third floor."
I made my way up the stairs, sloshing in water and wondering what I would find on the third floor.
Not much, as it turned out, other than the Super talking to another man, and a smell much like a recently doused camp fire.
I made my way up another flight and on the fourth floor I found what I was looking for: Information, courtesy of the posse of fellow tenants gathered there.
Apparently, there was a 2 alarm blaze on the east side of the third floor, at least three fire chiefs had been through to check it out, and the entire building was without running water because the firemen had hit a pipe somewhere.
After chatting over the drama with the people who'd actually been in the building, I made my way up to my own apartment... to find my front door missing a considerable chunk of paint where it had been pried open--for whatever reason I could not then say--and held slightly ajar by a crappy old umbrella that had fallen from its perch inside and lodged there.
Fearfully, I opened the door, but nothing appeared out of place (or any more out of place than it had previously been, my apartment being a bit of a wreck at the moment) and my cat was, thank goodness, still inside.
I closed the door, checked the level in my Brita pitcher, and got ready for bed. Then it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to check and make sure I could still lock my door, rather than discover a broken lock in the morning when I tried to leave for work.
This was, I must say, the best idea I've had in a long time, because lo and behold when I went to open the door to test the lock... nothing happened.
And by nothing I mean... NOTHING. The knob would not budge. I was, effectively, locked in my apartment.
I immediately called the Super, who assured me that "a guy was going around checking all the doors" and would help me.
Two hours later I gave up, emailed my boss with a heads up that I would most likely be late for work, and went to bed amidst the sounds of hammering and shattering glass coming from below, where god knows who was doing god knows what in the wake of the inferno.
This morning I woke up and called the Super once again.
"Hi, It's Froggy in [Apt Number] again. I'm still locked inside. I need to go to work. Could someone please help me?"
"Oh, oh, yeah. You're locked out?"
"No. I'm locked in."
"You need me to bring you a key?"
"No. No. A key will not help. The fire department broke my door and I am stuck INSIDE my apartment. As in, I cannot get out. I am trapped."
"Oh. Oh! Okay, I'll be right there."
Shortly thereafter he arrived and managed to break my door open, whereupon he disassembled the entire knob/lock mechanism and proceeded to fuck around with it while the increasingly potent smell of day-after-fire wafted through the open doorway and into my apartment, saturating everything, while I amused myself with an entirely-inappropriate-for-reproduction IM conversation with The English Ex (which was, without a doubt, the highlight of my fucking day).
The knob was only half attached and not even remotely functional when an electrician arrived downstairs and the Super left, promising he'd be back soon.
Forty-five minutes later (and already half an hour late for work, nevermind the 45 minute travel time and the fact that I still had no running water and would therefore have to wash my face and apply make-up once I got there), I called him again to remind him that I was still without a functional front door, at which time he finally returned, with another man in tow, and between the two of them they managed to rig my door so that I can at least lock it behind me, but the result is that the entire assembly still needs to be replaced.
I thanked them, raced out the door to work, my bag laden with toiletries, and finally made it through the door 1 1/2 hours late, and 5 minutes before we opened.
Good. Freakin'. Grief.
Oh, and did I mention that, throughout the entire morning ordeal, the lack of water ALSO meant a complete lack of what might be an even more vital necessity? I am referring, of course, to COFFEE.
Now, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am incredibly thankful that it was not my apartment that caught fire, that aside from a pervasive scent of doused camp fire, my belongings are not damaged, and that my cat did not escape during the ensuing mayhem during which I was not present, but still, I can't help but ask...
Seriously Universe? SERIOUSLY??
I think I need a vacation from my life.