Not everything runs smoothly, it’d be nice if it did. Character comes from diversity, everything happens for a reason…. or so we tell ourselves and we get on it with.
The long and short of this one is I got locked in a bathroom for four hours, we nearly crashed the car and I learnt not to ever, ever use a locksmith in Paris.
How it Started
I’m a pretty personal kind of guy, perhaps it comes from growing up in a house dominated by women, it could be a hangover from parents archetypal British behaviour or character flaw that’s arisen from some forgotten childhood experience… whatever the cause, I close doors when I pee at home and yep… even abroad. This isn’t usually a problem, you close the door behind you, go about your business, wash your hands and then exit the room, except when it doesn’t go that well and the door won’t open and you get locked in a bathroom for four hours.
I call Sandi we try the door together no luck, she calls the wonderful Charlotte (our awesome Air BnB caretaker) we remove the door handle and try everything from a few convincing blows, turning the inside chamber with a screwdriver to swearing loudly in French and English… nothing. I’m trapped and we’re down one hour, Sandi’s timetable has bid us adieu and is off to see the French countryside whilst she patiently fumes downstairs. We call our host Marc, who can’t get to his phone… at a loss we call a locksmith, this seems logical right?
At this point let me take you away from our little Air BnB with its character, spiral staircase and friendly hosts. Let me remove you from its ideal location, modern amenities and quaint Parisian charm, let us close the door, as it were, on this story for now, so I can say this…
If you are a Parisian locksmith and by some sad chance you wander onto this blog – let it be known that I cannot express my deepest contempt of you. Snakes bellies grace loftier heights than you, you are soulless and damned. You are demons wearing the cloaks of men so that you can disguise your hellish misdeeds. In short, you are thieves and scammers and you bruise the face of every honest profession in Paris.
…Now, were we? Locked in a bathroom, for two hours at this stage. We call Five locksmiths, the first one answers then hangs up, apparently, foreigners aren’t worth dealing with on a Sunday… we try four more with no success. We eventually call on Charlotte’s phone we explain our situation… everyone gets a chuckle. They say “Okay no problems, 110Euro and they can be there in one hour”… we muse on it, it’s a lot but the day is slipping away and we certainly didn’t travel all this way to hang out near the loo. Two hours, 85 push ups, 3 ‘Learn French with Duolingo’ lessons later they arrive and inform us that it is fact all up going to be 468.80Euros. My stomach drops, my mouth goes dry, I all but scream ‘NO!’ but it’s too late. They’ve strong-armed Sandi already, thrusting a portable EFTPOS machine into her face and intimidating her to act. The situation rapidly changes and is lost. They spend all of a minute banging the door with a hammer, remove the lock and I’m free… Free and hateful. Staring disdainfully at my liberators with a rising anger that is utterly alien to me.
It turns out a door bolt needs a small mechanism to retract it when you turn the handle otherwise it won’t withdraw and the bolt stays embedded into the door frame. Essentially, turning a door into a wall and no amount of turning, banging or cursing will remove it. Take it from me.
The locksmiths leave. Charlotte, Sandi, Willow and I are dumbstruck the silence if broken when Marc (the owner) calls Charlotte back. No-one is happy…
Later, we find ourselves back at the Airport at the Europcar service desk picking up our hire car. The bitterness of the morning has left a foul taste in our mouth and it is with this taste that we attempt driving through Paris and France with. It got ugly. We fought as only long-term couples in high-stress situations can. We chastised, blamed and sat in brooding silence as the madness of Paris traffic zoomed, zipped and beeped it’s way around us, oh and the GPS stopped working.
Driving on the opposite side of the road was always going to be a challenge in our current state it was magnified. Sandi at the wheel, my failing directions, my bathroom door challenge putting us hours behind… well, you can imagine. We sat cursing in a rough neighbourhood until we decided that the way forward is, well… forward and we get on with it.
How does it end?
Still in love of course and with two new friends. Every couple fights, by virtue of being a couple you know when enough is enough, when to work together and how to accomplish as one and so we did. Step by step, together. Our character is built from our diversity.
By happy chance, we met Marc at our next stop at ‘L’isle Del La Sorge’. We sit down at a cafe and resolve everything we try both our insurances with no luck. We decide to split the locksmith bill in half and end up chatting amicably like old friends. The next day we catch up with him at his mum’s house, he fills us in on where we must visit, we hear about Fontaine De Vaucluse and much, much more. Marc is an actor he makes movies. Both he and his mother are wonderful and the whole incident seems a blessing, a crooked blessing but still… well perhaps, everything happens for a reason.