Crazy drokpa in San Francisco
I step out onto the fire escape from my 4th floor bedroom for some fresh nighttime air. To preserve what little warmth was being thrown off by my Californian energy-efficient heater, I push the window back in. A few minutes later and I’m tugging at the window to open it; gently at first but harder and harder as I grow more worried. At one point I realize that if the window opened suddenly, it would be a short lived victory as I tumbled backward over the low railing of the fire escape. Positioning myself more safely, I continue pulling on the window and then try the adjacent windows in vain. My thoughts alternate between ways to get back into the apartment and the specter of ending my short spell on earth while executing one of these maneuvers less than skillfully. In the end I decide tonight is going to be my introduction to The Fire Escape.
I start climbing down the steps, getting glimpses into warm, well lighted living rooms along the way. Thankfully no one notices me. The steps seem to end on the first floor but then I notice the accordion-style final section of the fire escape and some straightforward instructions for lowering it to the ground. After unwinding the cables for a while, I release the lever to lower the ladder faster. Bad idea. Throwing my hands into the path of the wildly unwinding lever, I manage to avoid having the ladder crash loudly onto the ground. Thankfully I had reacted quickly enough that the unwinding hadn’t picked up enough speed to break any bones. I begin climbing down this final set of steps.
“What are you doing?” someone shouts.
“Got locked out of my apartment. Have to get back in this way.” I reply calmly.
“What apartment are you in?”
Not wanting this little incident reported to my landlord I respond with, “Don’t worry about it, not a big deal.”
“I’m the building manager,” he says.
I explain what happened and that I’m just going to use my keys to get back in from the ground floor. Maybe he thought I was a burglar before? I’m now on ground level and there is a door here but no keyhole. I explain this to the Super. He says probably the easiest way is for me to get back in through his apartment. I climb back up the fire escape to the first floor. The Super asks me to pull the ladder back up…quite a workout and just deserts for my shenanigans I suppose.
“Not the best of circumstances to meet but I’m…,” I offer, after entering his apartment through the window. He doesn’t respond, not to be rude I think. Maybe he is just too startled by this crazy guy standing in front of him. I apologize for disturbing him, offer thanks and exit the apartment.
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