For the first time in at least three years, someone actually asked me what I was doing.
A letting agent had given me a key to an empty property and asked me to change the lock. It’s suprising how often we’re asked to change a lock without being told that there’s also a problem with getting in.
When someone telephones wanting a lock changing, I usually ask whether it’s because the lock has stopped working or because the key has been compromised. Sometimes the reply, perhaps in an are-you-daft tone of voice, is “Well neither. I want you to change the lock because I’m locked out!” It’s kind of nice that we’re seen as some kind of magician but mostly it’s frustrating.
This time I’d forgotten to ask. Knowing the agent, I’d assumed that a change of tenant had necessitated a change of key. However, the key for the top lock wasn’t opening the lock despite the usual repetoire of jiggles and imprecations. I rang the agent and got confirmation that, yes the top lock has been getting trickier and trickier, and yes, there are therefore two reasons we’d like you to change it. So having mentally reviewed that my legal ass was covered, I took up the tools, assumed the posture, and nealy jumped out of my skin when a voice spake unto me, “What are you up to then, sonny?”
Sonny! That made my day. I’m only a few years from a free bus pass myself, but this guy was ninety if he was a day. And wearing slippers, which presumably was why I hadn’t heard his approach.
I thanked him for his vigilence. And meant it. Three years of acting suspiciously had gone by since the last time I was challenged. I suggested he telephone the number on the To Let board and (fingers crossed) get confirmation that I was angel rather than demon.