Oh, you mean this gate key [1]

Last Thursday evening, I picked up the keys (all four of them) to my new apartment. I’ve been very excited about moving for the last month. I picked out new furniture. I spent money. I dreamed about the joy of really, officially, having my own place. [2]

The leasing agent told me to wait until Friday to start moving in. The carpets were wet, the new paint was drying, and officially it wasn’t my apartment until midnight. I’m a law-abiding citizen, so I waited. I spent all of Friday moving and waiting for my pretty new furniture to arrive and more moving. I did not spend the night because while I could have done it all in one day, I didn’t have to. [3]

I finished up on Saturday and returned in the evening to find the gate closed. No Problem, I thought, I have a Gate Key.

I pressed the button. Nothing happened. I pressed it again, this time for longer. Nothing. I drove up close to the gate and pressed it several times in rapid succession. Nothing.

Then someone drove up behind me and opened the gate with their Gate Key. Slightly irritated, but still excited to spend my first night in my new apartment, I dashed around the corner and into my very own parking space. [4]

I was not worried about my Gate Key. The leasing office was open on Sunday. I would swing by before church and get it all worked out. So, Sunday morning, I did just that. I went in, all dressed up for the two musical Christmas Programs I’m a part of, holding my defective Gate Key in front of me, and explained, quite nicely to the blonde weekend secretary[5] my problem.

“You’re kidding!” she exclaimed.

No, I thought, I’m lying to you because I’m mean like that.

She called the Key Keeper in and they consulted for nearly fifteen minutes before giving me a new key. I asked what I should do if it didn’t work.

“Oh, it will, like, definitely work.”

“What if it doesn’t?”

“It will!”

“But what if it doesn’t? Who should I call?” [6]

“It will work!” Her eyes got narrow and she frowned at me whilst smiling.

“Okay. But, just supposing it doesn’t, what should I do?”

“Just wait and follow someone else in.” She said it like it was Obvious and I was Stupid. So, I sighed, thanked her for complete lack of help, and prayed that my new Gate Key would work before running off to dazzle my congregation with my piano skillz.

I didn’t get back until late Sunday evening and the gate was closed. No Problem, I thought, I have a NEW Gate Key.

It didn’t work. I tried everything all over again. I waited ten minutes and prayed someone would drive up and open the gate for me. They did and I went home, more irritated and less excited. I called my boss and told him I would be a few minutes late to work.

Monday morning, scant seconds after the leasing office opens, I’m there. I expected the normal [7] leasing agent to be at the desk. Sadly, it is, apparently, still the weekend in leasing agent world, so Blondie is at the desk, with her frowning smile.

“It didn’t work,” I said, very calmly, “I waited ten minutes.”

Once more she called the Key Keeper and once more they spoke in hushed whispers for about fifteen minutes before handing me TWO gate keys.

“What do I do if they don’t work?” I asked.

“They will work,” the Key Keeper said.

“But what if they don’t?”

“They will!” Blondie insisted.

“The last two keys you’ve given me, haven’t. What do I do if they don’t work?”

The Look on my face conveyed to Blondie that she should tread lightly. Seeing as she looked sixteen, I suppose she wasn’t that smart.

“Wait?” she suggested.

“What if no one comes in?”

“These will work!”

So I took the keys. Monday night, I approached the gate, albeit this time much more warily. “No Problem,” I said to my sister. “I have two Gate Keys.”

“What could go wrong with two Gate Keys?” She suggested hopefully.

They didn’t work. We waited five hours minutes. I lost all sense of control, serenity, and patience. I yelled at the gate. I yelled at the empty leasing office. I yelled whilst writing a strongly worded, yet still very polite, email to my normal leasing agent. [8] I called my boss and told him I would be late getting into work.

In the mean time, I prepared for war.

Tuesday morning I passed Blondie going into the office. She ran away and to my car. Prepared, I calmly explained the situation. Again. For the fourth time.

She handed me my fifth Gate Key. It was different. It looked like a garage door opener. She promised it would work.

“I need you to close the gate and prove it to me.”

“It’s on an automatic timer,” she said.

“I don’t care. I need to see it for myself.”


“Then give me your personal cell number so I can call you when it doesn’t work.”

She hesitated. Clearly she did not want to give her personal number to a crazy, new tenant with an escalating war against the Gate. “Come back in a few hours and we’ll do that.”

I came back in a few hours. It took 45 minutes to close the gate and test it. I pressed a button. It opened. I thanked them kindly and went back to work.

That night, with some trepidation, I drove up to the Gate. We stared each other down. The night was dark and there wasn’t a car in sight. With narrowed eyes and very inappropriate words on the tip of my tongue, I pressed the button. I half expected someone’s garage to open.

The gate slowly crept open, as if embarrassed that it had lost the war to keep me out. Smugly, I drove through.


[1] If you need to be told this is a Princess Bride reference, my heart weeps for your soul.
[2] There were four months in the beginning of 2007 where I lived alone in a three bedroom apartment. The owners weren’t happy to only have one renter but the leasing agent jumped the gun when she signed me, so they were stuck with me living there. In April, I convinced my best friend [9] to move in, and in June, the owners found one more girl to live there during the summer. Then the owner kicked us out via their daughter. But those four months were kind of awesome.
[3] I’m working on not doing things I don’t have to. It’s hard for me. I’m kind of Driven.
[4] My attractive navy XTerra is nestled between the largest, white, company truck I’ve ever seen, and a small, black, compact car that proclaims its love that its baby is home safe. Oh, and a motorcycle.
[5] She looked exactly what you might think a blond, weekend secretary would look like. Yes, I can be judgmental like that.
[6] She didn’t direct me to the Ghostbusters. Also, I have the wrong area code, so I can’t just buzz myself in.
[7] She is a red head. I’m not sure if that qualifies as normal but at least she is familiar. And not sixteen.
[8] In which I did not once threaten to tear her arms off.
[9] She and I have remained BFFs, which considering our roommate adventures, is kind of a miracle.

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