Русские Двери (Russian Doors!)
Today was one of those days where you wish it just to end! After spending time out on the town today, we all left for home. Alexei, Sveta and I got on a marshrutka headed for home. Then, it got pulled over. The second time this has happened to us. Technically, people aren’t supposed to stand on marshrutkas because it is illegal, but everyone does, but if caught the driver gets a very large fine. Last time we probably stood there in our huge, heavy coats, stuffed in like sardines for about 25 minutes, this time it was only about 7 before we were off again.
After getting to our stop, we were walking home from there when my day went from normal to completely wacky. I got up all four flights of stairs…got out my key…fit it in the lock…and…it wouldn’t unlock! It would only move about a bit in either direction. This sucks. I tried for about 10 minutes and then called Alexei back. He said to do this and that (I already had) and so I decided to meet him and Vladik at the cafe. We then went to the store (I stood guard with Vladik outside who was being crazy and we were getting odd stares. Me yelling my poor Russian at a little boy who wouldn’t stand still outside of a store…you know, these are the times when you think, “I never would ever have thought I would find myself in this situation”, but there we were! It was kind of a neat experience.
My other girlfriend called while I was walking home with Alexei and said she also couldn’t get the big steel door open either. We walked up the four flights of stairs and Alexei couldn’t get it open either. Oh yes…today is now one of THOSE days…
Next thing I knew, neighbours below us came to help us out. This is where the cultural aspect sets in. Americans, try to save the lock. They like to pick it from the inside, call a lock smith and wait for him if it can’t be figured out. They are scared of ruining something- the door, the lock, the key, etc. and making it worse. Russians do not have this scruple. First, we took off the face plate (I am so prepared! I had a little screw-driver thing in my backpack like always for things like this that happen). Then my girlfriend tried to use a nail file to make the thing turn. Then the two guy neighbours came to try. When they couldn’t get it with the key, they went for tools. They tried hammering the key in softly. When that didn’t work…they just kind of hammered it all in from the sides until the key plate fell off and then until it was not much more than a mangled piece of metal.
The door still didn’t open.
Then one of my other friends showed up with a bag that contained an electric screwdriver. Well, there wasn’t much else to do. We have a solid steel door, so unless someone had a blow torch, it wasn’t going to budge or break any other way. So Alexei went at what was left of the lock with an electric screwdriver. It opened.
It had been 3 hours since I had first tried to open the door.
We came in and settled down. I ate some borsch (finally! I was starving, not having eaten much during the day) and then had tea and watched cartoons and played cards with a friend. Then Alexei got back from looking for a new lock. They also brought ice cream! So we ate that with real Russian Dacha-grown berries which was good, while I talked to them and answered their questions about American ice cream (trying to explain that while American and Russian McDonald’s is the same, we have better food and ice cream that are not affiliated with McD’s).
What a crazy day! Dance tomorrow!