Andy Vs The Door


All in all I don’t think acclimating to life in the Czech Republic…excuse me, Czechia, has been all that difficult. It isn’t *so* different from life in the US really, but there are some things that continue to be a challenge nearly a year on. For instance, the doors. They open the opposite way than we are accustomed to them opening. When you approach a door you open it toward you. All those pesky fire codes we fine-tuned during the industrial revolution to keep masses of people from burning to their death trapped in a building have failed to impress the Europeans. Do fires not happen here? I’m not sure, but ten months later I still find myself pushing on doors looking like a rube. Thirty-seven years of habit is hard to break.

A few months ago we moved to a new flat. We made the decision to apply to extend our visa for two more years (recently approved, by the way!) and the constant construction on the flats surrounding us pushed us to find a new place with a bit more space and a bit less drilling to settle in. Our new flat is spacious and lovely with high ceilings and two little balconies on either end. However, the new building has an upgraded “safety door” that makes me a little crazy. For one, the door locks automatically. This could be fine, but you need a key to open it from the inside or the outside. The flat door locks automatically too. So it is entirely possible that you could accidentally walk out of the flat without the keys, shut the door, and find yourself locked in the stairwell with no way out of the building. Not to mention all the delivery people or visitors you have to walk up the stairs to the flat and then accompany them back down the stairs to let them out. I know that makes me sound lazy. It’s annoying, trust me.

The other night we had our first door-related mishap. I’m assuming this will be the first of many for the weird Americans who don’t know about doors. It was just before 11PM on a Sunday night and Andy took Gus out to the park next door for his nighttime pooping engagement. They were coming back into the building when he opened the door to our neighbor teaching his teeny, tiny puppy to climb the stairs just inside the entrance. Gus, of course, leapt forward at the sight of of the pup because, well, he’s a border collie and those guys get excited about all of the things. In an attempt to keep our dear bounding fellow from scaring the bejeezus out of Tiny Puppy, Andy let go of the door and held Gus back until our neighbor could scoop up the puppy and be on his way.

Tiny problem. The keys were still in the door. On the outside of the door. Where Andy wasn’t. He was inside. The neighbor had disappeared up the lift, so Andy came upstairs to get my keys and then headed back down to retrieve his. Here he encountered another problem, the lock won’t turn if there is a key in it already. Essentially he had succeeded in locking the entire building in. We were all trapped.

The upside to the late hour was that it wasn’t likely there would be many people heading out. The downside was there was NO ONE around. I watched from our balcony for people passing below but, of course, it was quiet as can be. If it hadn’t been a Sunday evening there would have been people on the patio of the pub on the first floor but it was closed so no luck there. The building next to ours is a police station and our bedroom window overlooks their balcony so I attempted to get the attention of one of the one guy outside on his smoke break, but he either didn’t understand my very bad Czech attempt or he thought I was a crazy women. Fair enough. I suppose I could have called them with about twenty minutes of work to figure out the number then twenty more minutes of psyching myself up to attempt to describe our predicament in my woefully underwhelming Czech vocabulary or force someone to speak English.

Eventually our problem-solving skills led us to call in reinforcements. I texted Tasci to see if my bff privileges extended to sending an Uber to pick her up and bring her to our flat in the middle of the night. But alas, just as I was about to send the car, I got a message from Andy that he had somehow caught the attention of one of the officers next door and the kind Policie had graciously removed the keys to free us. There was definitely a scolding tone involved with whatever he said after the keys were freed, but whatever, crisis averted!

Just another adventure with Team Soell!

(In case you’re worried about us, I do know the number to call for English speaking emergency services, but this didn’t seem like it it warranted a 112 call)