After doing the same mistake a few (dozen) times, you must learn something from it, right? Well, that’s not my style. Where’s the fun in that? This is another story of me making myself homeless for a while. You may guess the reason.
I had a summer job in a city rather far away from my home town. I lived in my grandmother’s apartment as she and her husband went to their countryside house for the summer.
That summer was a cold one and I usually had to wear a jacket when I left the house early in the morning. But one time, I was thrilled to notice it was warm enough for only a t-shirt. Therefore, I just put on my shoes, grabbed my handbag, and walked out of the door, delightedly leaving my jacket behind.
As the lock quietly clicked behind me, the delight was suddenly pushed away by an unpleasant realization: I wouldn’t be needing the coat but the KEYS in its pocket would have been kind of handy to have with me.
The door hadn’t closed all the way, so I tried to get it open with the desperate help of my fingertips and nails accompanied by pitiful sobbing-noises coming from my throat. But the door stayed that way and I was in a hurry as always, so I had no choice but to lock the door completely and go to work.
On a break, I called my aunt if she happened to have a spare key. It turned out she had two: I was using the other one and the other was in the apartment I was using. Of course it was. Next, I called my grandmother; yes, they had a key but at the time, they were half-way across the country.
The only option was to call the property maintenance to open the door for me after work. They were happy to do it but since I wasn’t an official resident of the place, they needed a confirmation that I was allowed there. So I had to call my grandmother again and ask if she could tell the property maintenance it was ok to let me in.
Here’s the thing: since they would open the door out of the office hours, it would cost me double the regular fee of 35 euros. I’m a low-funded student; I don’t have 70 euros lying around to spend on stupid things like getting to the place I sleep at night. Ergo, to save money, I told them to come the next day when I got off from work earlier.
By that time, my phone was getting pretty tired of the constant calling and complained its battery needed a recharge. Unfortunately, I still had to call my aunt that I was coming over to spend the night, which she had said I could do if things didn’t work out.
So, there I was, in the middle of the city with an almost dead phone. I could ask if someone would be kind enough to let me make a call, but what if my aunt or the property management tries to contact me? No, I needed to get my phone recharged.
Now, what would be the best place to find a charger? An electronics store, of course! So I obediently waited in line, roughly explained my situation and asked if I could get my phone alive again. The staff was incredibly kind and understanding and they let me use their charger for as long as I needed.
After about 20 minutes, I expressed my deep gratitude and left to notify my aunt that I was coming. I also bought a toothbrush and a box of chocolate as a thankful but apologetic gesture towards my aunt. She was particularly happy about the toothbrush. (That joke was so cheap I just had to write it; it would be foolish not to take advantage of those kinds of offerings. As I said, I’m a low-funded student.)
So, I spent the night at my aunt’s, she even found some fitting clothes so that I didn’t have to wear the same thing to work the next day.
In the later afternoon, I was finally at the door of my temporary home. A man came to open it for me and asked if he could see an ID to make sure I wasn’t some clever but remarkably lazy burglar who just decides to call someone to open the doors for her.
I reached into my bag, I reached deeper, but I couldn’t find my wallet. Then I remembered exactly where it was – it was neatly organized between the hand disinfectant and my work phone. In my work bag. At work. To which it took over an hour to get using public transportation.
Well, I managed to convince the guy I was me by describing the apartment and the bright, orange coat just my size hanging with the keys in its pocket. So, I got in with a 35 euro bill in my hand. I was planning to go to the grocery store but with my wallet out of reach, it didn’t seem like such a good idea.
Unknowingly, I had traveled without my travel card that was safely in my wallet. If the inspectors had come, it would have cost me 80 euros in fine. I still wonder how Murphy missed me on that one. I guess he was too exhausted.