Saturday I had a very satisfying workout, returned Zeke the Cat to his rightful owners, and headed to the Black Cat with bobwhite and my brother to see Frank Black and the Catholics. The plan was to go to the show and then hit a party that my brother's friends were throwing with the leftover kegs from the wedding. The website said the show started at 9:30 and we were there right on time, only to find out that Frank wasn't coming on until around midnight. We scored a prime corner spot at the Red Room bar and ordered a few rounds of beer while waiting for the show. I draped my coat over my stool, sitting on it, and put my purse underneath. After a while and a complimentary round from the bartender, we headed upstairs in case he came on earlier. I picked up my purse to find it soaked with some liquid. Not beer, but not really water--refrigerator condensation is more what it smelled like. My coat too was soaked in this stuff, and my jeans were getting wet from all of the water dripping out of my purse. Bob lent me his coat and keys to put my wet stuff in his car and off I went.
I got to Bob's car, looked around and saw no one but two indie girls in the car parked behind Bob's, they too stashing their stuff away. I put my coat and purse in the trunk on top of Bob's suitcase. I noticed that Bob had left the car doors unlocked, locked them and walked back to the club whilst being serenaded by a young hip-hop hopeful.
The show was great. I of course gave Bob a little ribbing for not locking the doors, but Frank came on early, and in perfect Frank Black fashion, did not acknowledge the crowd, didn't introduce a single song, and paused no longer than to nod to his drummer between tunes. We split right after the first encore excited to get to the party. We got back to Bob's car, and just after I asked him to pop the trunk so I could get my stuff, I noticed the stationary window on the rear passenger side door smashed. Bob didn't understand what I meant when I said "the car's been broken into" until I stuck my hand through the window. I opened the trunk to see his suitcase, my coat and purse gone. Fortunately, I had my ID and all of my cash in my pocket, but they got all of my credit cards, my cell phone, about $80 worth of Metrocheks, and the keys to my apartment. Bob's radio, however, was still installed.
We went to the party anyway, only to find that it had petered out abut an hour earlier. I got on the phone and started calling to cancel my cards, and called the after hours emergency line for my apartment building so I could get in. The lady I spoke to said she'd "try" to page someone to see "if" they could come help me in. After a half-hour, she called back to say no one was around to help, but she could give me the number of a locksmith. I opted to sleep at my brother's. She told me she thought the management office would be open as early as nine, so I could get back in then.
At 10:30 this morning, I left my brother's, headed to the management office to find it closed until noon. I went back to their place, was served a stellar egg & cheese sandwich and watched Trading Spaces with his new bride. I walked back to the office and spoke to Cindy, a leasing agent who seemed to have trouble understanding that I was not merely locked out, but that I had no keys to collect in the apartment should I be let back in. I explained to her that without a key, I could not leave my apartment. She asked me if I had filed a police report, but I reminded her that my entire purse was stolen, including my phone, and that I had been locked out of my apartment for over 12 hours now, so until I could get back in there was no way I could. She simply blinked and said that if I had a police case number, I wouldn't have to pay for the replacement keys. I offered to pay for the keys now so that I could have a set and that I would accept reimbursement for the fee once I provided the case number. She said that even if we chose that option, there isn't someone to cut keys on Sundays anyway, and that I'd have to talk to the Property Manager about this, who won't be in until tomorrow morning.
Cindy sent me to Ali, the guy at the management office in my building. Ali told me that he could bring a spare key down to let me in but could not leave me with the key. I remembered that Mickey has the spare, so that problem was avoidable until I could get a new set, but there remains the issue of the key to get into the main building. I asked Ali for the code and he played dumb. There is a code that one can dial into the callbox that will open the door. This code was provided to me on the day I moved in so that the moving truck could get inside the gates, but the code is changed periodically to "ensure safety". I seem to be the only resident who does not know the code at any given time. I have spoken to a few of my neighbors about it who always confidently tell me I just have to be more alert to find out what it is but never exactly how. Management likes to pretend there is no code. Ali told me that he was not allowed to give me the code but I could get it from Cindy. I reminded Ali that if I were to leave my apartment again to talk to Cindy, I could not get back in since he won't give me the keys. He suggested I leave my door unlocked.
While Ali was walking me to my apartment, I asked him if he realized how stupid this whole thing is. He said that he was just following the rules blah blah, and I said that I understood he was following rules, but wanted to know if he as a human being could actually comprehend how asinine the situation is. He tried to pull the "don't take it out on me" victim game, and I told him I wasn't having it, I just wanted him to admit it was stupid. And he did.
I called Cindy to get the code. Cindy didn't know what kind of code I was talking about but said that I could get it from Ali. I told her Ali sent me to her. She called Ali to find out what I meant, and told me that she couldn't give it to me either but that I could come to her office again to pick up a spare garage entry card. I was going to ask her how I was supposed to get back into my building or my apartment after I did that but I figured it wasn't worth the trouble. Bob came over, we filed the police report, and I canceled the rest of my cards, including some that I had canceled the night before, but was right in my suspicion that the guy I was talking to didn't know what he was doing.
The wallet and purse thing bothers me less than the apartment bullshit. I mean, I hated that wallet. It was too puffy. My coat was on its last legs. I am lucky to have been lazy enough not to switch my cell over to the phone that Helen Marie gave me this summer. From what I can tell, the guys who stole my stuff only charged some gas on my Amex Blue, but that's not showing up on my statement anymore. They also made a few calls to some of my friends. Something tells me my bag is sitting in a trash can on 13th street, but it's not worth digging through biological waste to look for it.
But this fucking apartment stuff. I pay a sizable sum of money to live here. I have it to them by the 5th of each month (or pay the 10% plus the bounced check fee). God forbid they cash it before the 10th, but that's a story for another day. They do not have anyone working at the EMERGENCY help line. Keys are not made on Sundays. Two separate people went out of their way not to accommodate any of my needs. And it's a damn good thing I have family and friends so close. What if I were to have just moved here? I would have had nowhere to stay, and no credit cards to get a hotel room with.
Letters will be written. One to the management office, one to the Charles E. Smith main office, and another to this Arlington Fair Housing association that Mickey found an article about on that ridiculous pants-wetting, diversity-belching www.dcindymedia site. For once, the whiners will whine for me.