No one can drive us crazy unless we give them  the keys . —– D. Horton


I’m not unusually concerned with locks usually .  When Ada and I  rented a house in Sierra Madre from Tom we never had a key . Tom lost the key years before we showed up , when he was living in the house . Our friend Willie lives there now . Still no key . The no -key era spans at least twenty years so far . Of course , all the locks could be changed anytime , but no one really considers that possibility .

When I was a kid that’s how things were . I don’t think that my parents ever locked the doors at our house unless we were going on vacation. People are much more cautious now . And , we were in the suburbs .

I’m in Poland now . I’m in the city , so attitudes are different , no doubt , from suburban attitudes .  Locks .  The  doors have two or three or four locks . All are deadbolts , for what’s  the use of other locks ? People use all the locks , too , when they leave their places . Can’t be too careful .

A couple of years ago my stepson rented us a place in the city to stay . It was up the stairs , no elevator , on the trillionth floor . God lived just on the next floor up , I think . But , maybe we were on the top floor , now that I think of it , so God must have been somewhere next door . Maybe he was the guy playing the loud techno  music . I don’t know . Anyway , we were way up there . I don’t think any self-respecting thief would even climb so high . By the time he carted his loot down the stairs he’d be collapsed on the ground ready to give up to the cops , exhausted .

The place had  deadbolt locks . One of them stuck . You would have to turn the key three or four times and hope for the best . Five or six  turns , maybe . Sometimes the lock would click open on the second or third or fourth turn . Maybe not . We might spend five minutes trying the lock .

No one seemed concerned about this except for me .  Why have to turn the damn thing so many times , hoping for a winning turn ?  One of these days it might not even open . I asked that the landlord be contacted about this problem . Well , it had been like that ever since anyone could remember . What’s the big deal !WD 40

I went down to a shop and bought a small can of WD40 , sprayed it into the lock ; sprayed a little more for good measure . Then I turned the key : Click !   The thing opened on the first turn . Opened from then on on the first turn . Easy . Problem solved .

This year , in  a different place , we have three keys to contend with . They all look the same to me . One  opens the front door of the apartment house . Two others open our apartment door . I fiddled with those keys trying to find the right one for the right lock . No one seemed concerned but me . Well , don’t you see the picture on the one key ? No , no I don’t . With my reading glasses on given enough light I can almost see the picture .  Is it a bull ? So , I am now  fiddling with my glasses as well as the three keys . Frustrating !  I could go off the deep end one day trying to figure these keys out . Which key for which lock ? They all look the same .

Now , I won’t even go into the one turn or two turn Polish  lock thing . I’ll leave that little conundrum for another day . Suffice it to say here that that’s another of my Polish lock problems which , again , no one seems concerned about but me .

I went looking for those cheap plastic key covers in different colors to fit onto the top of keys so that I could tell one key from another . Nothing . No luck . Maybe a locksmith would have them , Ada suggested . ” What about nail polish ? ” she suggested . ” That’s what we used to use . ”   Yeah . Great idea .

Turns out Ada had no nail polish . We went looking for nail polish in the shops . No luck . Then  I spotted some outside the REAL store . Ada and I made our move . ” I’m not buying any of this !” she said . Too high-priced , I guess ; or not her colors . While the clerk was occupied Ada tried two or three different colors , a spot of each , applied neatly to each of my keys . I had to air them for a few minutes as we walked calmly away . I felt a little girlish as I held my nail-polished keys out into the air ; but , whataya gonna do !KEYS 002

Problem solved for now :  Blue gets me into the building ; green opens  the top lock ;  use red near the door handle . Easy . I may not go completely crazy today , unless I have to go down into the building basement storage room ; but ,  let’s fight one battle at a time .

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