A friend was recently moving house and, as he was carrying boxes out late at night on a weekend, his old apartment door slammed behind him, locking him out. He had nothing on him – only the keys to his new place.
Bit of a rubbish situation to be in, I hear you say. Yes, but it was made even worse when he realised he could neither get back into his apartment, nor leave the building: without keys you can’t get in or out. He ended up having to spend the night in the foyer, waiting for a neighbour to return.
Now, the locking-out element could happen anywhere – Buenos Aires can’t be blamed for stupidity – but the fact that you can be stuck between two doors, an apartment door and the main entrance of a building, seems ridiculous to me (not to mention unique to Argentina – or at least from my experience).
Is it for security? I can understand the urge to lock people out – thieves and general ruffians – but locking people in?
And it certainly makes storming out after an argument a bit less dramatic if you then have to go back or buzz up and ask to be let out. The blazing trail will disappear pronto.
If you need to make a hasty exit from a place what happens? Seriously – what about fire safety regulations?
In the post-Cromañon days where everyone is allegedly safety-conscious, and fire regulations have gone to the extreme in bars and nightclubs (you can be kicked out of a bar for dancing in a place with no licence, something I have yet to get my head around: how is dancing more likely to make you self-combust than standing still? But that’s for another column), it seems baffling to me that you can get physically stuck in buildings, between front doors and building entrances.
If a fire is raging inside your place, the last thing you’re thinking is going to be ‘oooh, it’s really hot in here, but where did I put my keys?’ And taking this to the absolute extreme, what if you need to escape a person? Your average BA apartment block would make the perfect setting for a low-budget slasher film, with the heroine being stalked around empty corridors.
It’s not necessarily all bad, though – the inability to leave is one way to ensure that hottie you brought home will still be there when you wake up. Even if it’s not through choice…