July 26, 2017

Locked Out

We had just finished our dinner at a lovely restaurant in Paris when suddenly the skies opened up. The thunder boomed above us, and the lightning brightened the sky into daylight. The rain came down in buckets, falling harder and harder. We were seated outside on the sidewalk. Luckily, we had an awning protecting us overhead, but not enough to stop the rain from splashing back up, making us wet and cold.

We needed to make a run for it!

I removed my new shoes and held on to them, trying to save them from further damage.  Now running barefoot along the sidewalks and streets, the thought of what I was running through made me cringe. Too late to worry now!  We never expected to see a taxi, let alone catch one, but luck was on our side. We crammed ourselves into the backseat of the taxi, completely soaked. Even for a Vancouver girl, this was crazy rain!

We arrived at our apartment building, racing up the stairs, wet and wanting to change into dry clothes.  I fumbled around in my handbag for the keys…where are my keys? OMG! Where are my keys?!!  To be clear, this was my small, wallet-size handbag, and there wasn’t much digging around to do.  I was beside myself, and each of us had a turn looking into my handbag. The keys were definitely not there. At that moment, it occurred to me they must have fallen out in the taxi on the way to dinner.

Omg…what to do now?  

We managed to find a locksmith to come to our rescue; it would take an hour or so until he would arrive. It was late, but our locksmith finally arrived. He assessed the work, punching numbers into his calculator, and determined it would cost 225 euros to crack open our door. Since it was late Sunday night, it would cost triple the time…are you doing the math?  Yes, 675 euros to open the fucking door.  “NON-MERCI”!  

He voiced a few words back to us in French, and we continued to tell him that we were not paying him and that he was taking advantage of us.  The locksmith informs us that we owe him 90 euros for his time. Here’s the thing: on the phone, dispatch told us it would cost 90 euros to complete the job, which is why we agreed for him to come in the first place. Apparently, our conversation was lost in translation.

In the meantime, I left my son, still arguing with the locksmith. As I walked by my son, I mouthed to him, “Just walk away.” I went next door to the Hotel Beaugency, and a nice man was seated at reception, “parlez vous Anglais”?  I explained that we locked ourselves out of our apartment and had two rooms to accommodate us. Not only was he able to give us two rooms for the price of one, but he also comped us our breakfast and managed to find us toothbrushes.  So nice to have someone look after us instead of taking advantage of a situation.  I wish I had his name…

The next morning, my landlady organized her locksmith to come and unlock our door. There was a lot of drilling involved, and voila, we were in! What a relief; 294 euros later, which included a new lock and a way better price than the previous guy.   My apartment insurance will be covering the locksmith costs but not the hotel (still negotiating).  We were happy to be inside, the extra apartment keys still sitting on the kitchen table inside my son’s new attaché case. Why didn’t he bring it with him last night? Ugh?!

We had all just finished our showers and were getting ready to set off when there was a knock at our door.  It was the building caretaker; she was dangling a set of keys, “are these yours?”  I just about died, yes, yes, but where did you get them?  Apparently, the taxi driver had just dropped them off, only two hours too late, “Oh, mon Dieu!”  I didn’t know the name of the taxi company, but I kept hoping that, by some miracle, the taxi driver would find them and return our keys. Lucky or not, our apartment address was on the set of keys. A little too late, but it’s nice to know there are good people in Paris.



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