A woman called me last week: “Ihre Schluessel sind bei uns im Beuro abzoholen…” (Your keys are in our office to be picked up.) Aha, I said. I took down the address and said I would come by in the near future to collect them and I thanked her again for calling.
Three weeks ago when I was steadily moving things out of one apartment and into another I had a surprising mishap. In my unending quest for efficiency, I put on my backpack which contains everything relevant and necessary (wallet, keys, IDs, hand cream, lip balm, etc.) while I was packing so that I wouldn’t need to make an extra trip back upstairs to grab it. My front pocket was unzipped. You can almost imagine the rest.
I bent over to clumsily lift one box into the small elevator, then did the same with the next box. I noticed an ink pen lying on the threshold between elevator and the first floor. That’s odd, I thought. As I stooped to pick it up, coins and some other objects tumbled out in a quick little rhythm that ended with the clinking sound of metal against concrete. I knew immediately what happened.
Keys. Gone. In the gap between the elevator and the floor. Not the new apartment keys (thank, God!), not to the apartment I was leaving, rather extra keys to my husband’s apartment 2 hours south. A strange mix of horror and relief. I kept calm, considered a plan and carried on with my hauling activities. It crossed my mind that this was perhaps a sign.
In the afternoon I contacted the elevator company per e-mail. After some back and forth, I understood that I could pay 100 Euros to have a technician come fish them out or I could wait until they performed their next maintenance check up in April. My husband and I decided April was fine which is why the phone call in early March caught me off guard.
This morning I ventured across town at an especially early hour to pick up the lost keys. I found the address without too much difficulty and was intrigued by the very old, never renovated location of this company. I knew from my brief google research that it was a traditional Viennese family business but I was not prepared for this level of unbothered authenticity. Old fashioned windows and stairs that led me to the office on the second floor. The room was messy and very lived-in. Three heads turned when I entered and quickly announced my business.
The woman at her desk rose to pick up a large ring of several key holders. I saw that I was not alone in my fate. Each bundle of keys had a small paper note attached identifying the location found. The assistant asked me how many keys. 3 keys, I told her, on a simple silver ring. She pulled them off the big ring and handed them over. I thanked her and turned to leave the way I had come. As tempted as I was to snap a few photos of this vintage building, I resisted the urge.
Keys retrieved and mind relieved, I got in my car and headed back across town. I felt like I deserved a medal.