Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Key Victory

It came to my mind a couple weeks ago that it would be good for me to have extra copies of my house keys. Given my perchance for losing things, it’s amazing I haven’t locked myself out already.

I knew that my school had an extra set. They asked for them over the summer, so that they could go in to clean, fix things, pick up the mail and, I suspect, just poke around. The logical thing would be for me to ask the school to give me the extra set. After all, it’s my flat and there’s no reason they need the keys now. Still, it took me a couple weeks to work that thought firmly enough in my mind to override my reluctance to begin what I knew would be a major production... over the past week, the drama unfolded:

Me, after explaining the situation: ... so do you think I could get the keys:
Kati: Why?
Me: You know, just to have an extra set. In case I lose mine.
Kati: But you’ve been here two years and you haven’t ever lost them.
Me: But just so I don’t have to worry...
Kati: Are you sure the school has them?
Me: Yes, remember you were with me when we made copies?
Kati: Um, yes I maybe remember something like it...
(pause)
Me: Right, so...
Kati: You need them for this week? Or the weekend?
Me: No, I mean, I need them to keep. You know, forever.
Kati: Okay. By when you need them?
Me: Just whenever... (realizing that I need to set a date)... this week?
Kati: Okay, I’ll ask.

Some hours pass. As I’m leaving for the day, the handyman, Pali, and doorwoman, Juliska, corner me. Imagine the following conversation in Hungarian:

Juliska: Emily! Emily, come here. I heard you’re looking for your keys? Let’s ask Pali.
Me: Okay...
Juliska, to Pali: Pali, you know that Emily -
Pali, to Juliska, pretending that I’m not standing next to them: Emily? Who’s Emily? Oh, hm, I think I’ve met her once or twice. Nice girl (winks at me).
Juliska, hitting him on the shoulder: Stop being silly. What do you know about her keys?
Pali, to me: Right, I don’t have them. You know, whenever I have to go into the flat - (and why was this in present tense? have they been going into my flat recently while I’ve been teaching?) - into the flat for some reason, you know to fix things, or whatever, I have to ask Luca (the school’s financial secretary) for the keys. She has the keys.
Me: Fantastic!
Pali: But she’s gone today. And tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait until Monday.
Me, wishing for a job where I get to have three-and-a-half day weekends: Whatever, still fantastic. Okay, I’ll ask. Bye.
Pali and Juliska: Bye.

Fast-forward to Monday. I don’t see my contact teacher but I leave a note on her desk reminding her to ask for the keys. Then on Tuesday:

Kati: So I asked about your keys.
Me: Yes?
Kati: Luca doesn’t have them.
Me, slightly indignant: Um, yes she does.
Kati: No, she said she doesn’t know where they are.
Me: Wait, she doesn’t have them or she doesn’t know where they are? She must have them, Pali told me she has them.
Kati: Pali told you?
Me: Yes.
Kati: Hm. She said she would look in the safe.
Me, hopeful again: Okay, that sounds good. When?
Kati: Eeh, maybe today?

On Wednesday:

Edit, one of the other English teachers: Kati, have you seen (some book)? I need it to sub for Vali’s class.
Kati: I don’t know, check her desk.
Me: I see it, it’s right there.
Edit: Oh, good. Hey, isn’t this (some other book they’ve been looking for for weeks)?
Kati: Is it!? Vali said she’d never seen it.
Edit: Well, here it is.
Kati, to me: It’s always the same. Whenever you lose something, just look in Vali’s desk.
Edit: Maybe your keys are in here.
Me: Yeah, hey! By the way -
Kati, hurridly: Is that the bell already? Let’s go to class.

But she must have done something - actually, she told me later that she had taken our case, as it were, to the director of the school. This morning:

Director: Are these your keys?
Me, thinking "why, how many sets of two house keys and one mailbox key do you have lying around in the school’s safe?" : Yes, thank you. Thank you very much.

ps. And I’m sorry about the awful, awful title. Truly. I don’t know what I was thinking... except that I was too lazy to think of anything else.

1 comment:

jrj said...

no worries, kid. you've gotta hand your hat on whatever you've got.