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Cloak and Dagger

Subleasing in the city is always an adventure.  You never know what you’ll find in the closet, who your roommate will bring home or how often the landlord lurks around the apartment.  In the case of my charming place in the Castro, the first week has been full of surprises.  [Miss Keller, I promise I did not snoop through your stuff.]

First, I found out that I have to move out September 14th instead of staying through December like I was hoping.  Second, I literally ran into a guy coming out of our bathroom in my roommate’s bathrobe while I was on my way to a coffee shop.  And third, I found out that not only do the landlords have no idea that I’m subleasing, they live next door, share our courtyard and are lesbians that don’t like straight women (just to add to the fun). 

I was instructed to say, “I’m a friend of Sarah’s,” when asked who I am, but I don’t really feel this is sufficient.  Why would a friend have a key to the apartment?  Maybe I’m just a bad friend, but even when I lived alone I didn’t go giving my apartment key out friends (mainly because most of them were as irresponsible as I was at the time and had just as high a probability of losing it).  So, unless I say “friend” in a way that implies, “friend I have sex with,” I’m not sure these women are going to buy it, and then they’ll know I’m lying.  This makes me feel awkward.

I want to avoid the whole mess altogether so everytime I leave or enter my apartment, I make sure I have keys in-hand, look around, and make the transition from inside to outside (or vice versa) as quickly as possible.  The unfortunate thing is that I am not a “smooth character” and our apartment has two entrances, a gate and a door, each with different locks, but keys that look the same.  So I usually end up looking more like Jim Carey than James Bond.

Despite my lack of stealth, I made it a whole 8 days without a run-in.  I was feeling good, perhaps getting a little careless, so when a friend dropped me off the other night, I was unprepared for fate’s turn.

I exited my friend’s car and instead of having my keys ready in-hand like I usually do, they were somewhere in the depths of my Mary Poppins purse.  I was standing at the entrance and fumbling around in my bag when I heard the landlords’ door open and two voices talking in the hallway. 

Crap!  I am not in the mood to deal with this tonight.  Plus this is weird—a “friend” unlocking the door to a dark apartment late at night? 

I kept thrusting my hand from side to side, hoping to run into the bright pink carabiner that still holds the keys to every apartment I’ve ever lived in, but it kept alluding me.  I could hear the jangle, feel the weight, but I couldn’t seem to actually wrap my fingers around it.  Why is it you can never find your keys when you need them?

I considered getting back into my friend’s car but caught a glimpse of pink in the street light.  Finally!  I grabbed the keys as I heard the door close and proceeded to spaz out while I tried the same damn key, which was the wrong key, five times in the same damn lock.  Then I dropped the keys.  Right.  I didn’t turn around but I’m pretty sure this woman was standing in front of her door with her dog laughing at the chick having a coronary on the doorstep of her rental property.

I finally shoved the right key in the right hole and launched myself inside; creeping to my room in the dark because I didn’t dare turn on a light.  Moral of the story, I’m pretty sure the cat’s out of the bag.  In fact, they probably knew the day I arrived since my parents parked and began unloading my stuff in front of their garage that has a video camera affixed to it, which makes my previous efforts even more ridiculous, but I would still like to avoid all confrontation.  Which means that when I left for coffee today, I pulled my hair in my face and beanie down over my eyes and darted around the corner like burglar on acid.

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