Georgia: The Land of Ceaseless Adventures

I know, I know.  I’ve been a terrible blogger.  I’ve meant to write, really I have!  I’ve brewed up a few ideas and even took some pictures to support them!  As I walk to work every morning, my creative juices flow.  I write blogposts in my head, I vow to practice bass guitar more, I resolve to sign up for national novel writing month, I contemplate new and doomed ideas for music videos.  And then I go to work all day.

After work, I teach for 1-2 hours at night in Saburtelo.  I have a solid thirty-forty minute commute of walking, riding, and walking again.  It’s nice walking the streets at night, despite the cold.  I listen to my audiobooks (This time one about Krakatoa, but more on that later) and plan nuances of my lessons in my head.  I’m all about living in my head.

Finally, after another 45-minute long commute, I arrive home exhausted.  I’ve already been working for something like 13 hours and I stopped working only to commute from one job to the other (I’ve been skipping lunch lately to keep working.  But don’t worry!  I had some cake one day and an apple the other!).  But no, the work isn’t over.  I have to plan my lessons for the next night.  Heaven knows I won’t have time to plan lessons while working!  Wholly unrealistic!

Finally, when I crawl into bed–maybe with a TV show queued up, maybe not–I can’t wait for the warm embrace of sleep.  Georgia had bigger plans for me tonight.

As I mentioned, I teach four days a week and only at night.  Hence, all day today (Thursday) I felt like it was Friday!  I don’t have any lessons tomorrow, so I felt like my week was ending today.  To celebrate, I decided I would go to be early.  No sooner had I gotten comfortable, then came a sudden tapping, rapping at my chamber door.

I gave it a minute or so before getting up.  I threw on a shirt and sweater combo and answered the neighbor-lady’s knocks.  “Oh help me!” she said, in decent English.  “The door won’t close right,” she continued in Russian.  “My key!” came her final plea in Georgian.  (Oh! ახლა შემიძლია წერა ქართულად!)

I stepped out into the chilly wooden-floored hallway and down the steps.  As I landed, she cried out, “Oh!  It’s cold!” and pointed at my bare legs and feet.  (Joanne and Marissa, you will be proud to know I was not wearing pants)  I waved my hand dismissively and said, “It’s nothing,” in Russian.

Sure enough, her key was stuck well and good.  Not only that, but the innards of the lock had apparently come out.  This was not a good situation.

We jiggered the lock around for a good long while.  Nothing seemed to work.  Neither twisting, nor pulling, nor bopping it did any good.  The knife we slid in between the wood and the deadbolt served no purpose other than to loosen some splinters of wood that came clattering about our feet.  When she went to grab a screwdriver, I decided to grab some pants.

We reemerged and redoubled our efforts.  I unscrewed the panel shielding the lock while she cheered me on, “Look at how smart you are!”  My ego deflated when we popped off the panel to discover that it was mostly for looks.  The lock itself was still safely ensconced behind another wooden panel.  I eyed the hinges of the door.  “Don’t even think about it,” she said.

We contemplated our next contingency plan, but abandoned it when we realized that although we could use the knife to cut away at the door, the metal plate protecting the deadbolt itself would never succumb to our flimsy kitchen tools.  The neighbor asked me to try my key.  It’s made of a softer metal than hers and bent with the greatest of ease.  Normally that would make me feel strong.  This time it was just disappointing.

“One minute,” she asked, “I will call my Taxist.  He will come and we will throw him a key through the window [read: broken screen panel at the top of the door]!”  It sounded dubious.  I mean, the lock had eviscerated itself on our side, so it only stood to reason that it was impressed on the far side.  I headed inside to wait for the taxist, and to send a text to a coworker foreshadowing that “I might have some trouble getting to work on time tomorrow….”

Five minutes later, a commotion in the hall announced the arrival of the taxist.  Dato, I think his name was.  I reopened my door to see Dato standing in our “Mud Room”.  He’d done it!  I guess the lock on the outside wasn’t so destroyed!  He swiftly completed the disassembling job I had started with my unpanelling of the lock.  “Expert!” the neighbor boasted.

With a yank, the broken part of the lock jerked free.  Dato poked it with the end of the screw driver and I heard the clatter of something across the floor.  Several somethings, in fact.  It sounded like a bunch of pebbles had gotten inside it.  I found one and picked it up.  Those are no pebbles, I thought, those are space stations! (Not really; they aren’t space stations.  I just can never resist a Star Wars reference!)

In fact, they were the little metal bits that drop into place along the grooves of a key in the lock.  If the lock wasn’t broken before, it sure as hell was now!  Bits of it rolled into all of the dark corners of the hallway.  With a thud, one chunk the size of my pink up to the first knuckle landed on the ground by the discarded kitchen knife.  I picked it up.  Dato “reassembled” the lock as I examined one of the many obviously now-missing parts. It was a futile operation anyway.

Dato told us we needed a knew lock (Duh!  Some expert he is!) and that he would install it tomorrow at noon.  The neighbor (Gosh, after two months you’d think I’d know her name!) joyfully bounced and ran to get him some money for his troubles.

Now, back in my bed, safe and warm due to the presence of some good Karma* near the foot of my bed, I can go to sleep and not worry myself about the lock.  Not until, that is, we begin our complicated dance of letting each other out and deadbolting the door behind one another in the morning….

Sure enough, the adventures never stop coming in Georgia!

*Karma is our brand of heater.

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