Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jammed jambs.

The universe is a funny thing.  Our existence is a series of seemingly random events and bizarre coincidences that shape our life-course in ways that make no sense at the time of occurrence, but, in hindsight, it often appears that our journey through life is clearly mapped out by the hand of destiny.  A few weeks back, the glass double doors at the front of my building were jammed.  After about five minutes of trying to cajole them open like a good-humored date rapist, I realised my patience was starting to run out, and it would only be a matter of time before I lost my cool and started kicking in the glass in a fit of rage.  This would result in damage to my deposit, a severed peroneal artery, and a set of double doors that still wouldn't open.  The sane and logical thing to do would be to admit defeat and go in the back way.  The front of my house is on Southern Road (this means nothing to most people in Cork, yet when I use Irish orienteering and explain that it's between Paddy the Farmer's and The Southern Star they suddenly know exactly where I live), but to get to the back means going along Old Blackrock Road, then taking a turn down a street which appears to be a cul-de-sac. The street doesn't come to an end, instead it morphs into a boreen, complete with hedges, ditches, and potholes that could swallow a small child.  At the bottom of this boreen, you'll find the back of my house, which means that my place of permanent residence is a bizarre rural vortex in Cork city centre. 

As I made my way along Old Blackrock Road, an old woman stopped me asking if I knew how to change a tyre?  Being the good old-fashioned man that I am (sexist but chivalrous), I obliged and got to work.  She explained that she had been there for about an hour, she tried ringing her son but he was tied up with work, and every passing stranger she asked was too busy or didn't know how.  I then explained that it really was her lucky day as normally I wouldn't take that route, it just happened that I was passing because my front door was jammed shut.  I then drifted off into an immensely philosophical abstraction about how the universe purposefully jammed my door so that I could help out this poor, troubled old woman.  Then, just as the last bolt was tightened and the jack taken away, her son turned up, thanked me for helping out his mother, and then handed me a tenner.  A proper gentleman would have refused this, as a good deed is its own reward, but I'm flat fucking broke so I pocketed it in the most gracious manner I could muster.  After negotiating the crocodile infested potholes of the boreen, I climbed the metal fire escape and got into my flat, where I cleaned the grime off my hands and did some more musing on the bizarre cosmic coincidence I had just witnessed as I sipped on a mug of heavily honeyed tea.  Maybe it was the tea talking, or the honey had gone to my head, but this was far too beautifully set up to be just a coincidence.  To test out this hypothesis I went down to the front door.  A quick turn of the handle and one sharp tug revealed that, lo and behold, it was still stuck.  Fuck you Universe, I've had enough of your shit.  I spend an hour helping an old woman that I have never met before, and this is how you repay me?  Although I've never read the bible, I'm fairly certain the good Samaritan arrived home to a fully functioning front door after doing his good deed for the day.

Later on, myself and the guy who lives in the flat upstairs used our combined body weight, a claw hammer, and some WD-40 to try to wedge open the door.  This was every bit as kinky as it sounds, but unfortunately it did not work.  We could have spent the evening changing flat tyres for every old woman from here to Carrigaline and it still wouldn't have made a difference.  Fortunately, the next day Karma sent round my landlord with a crowbar.  As he is a one-time rugby player and a full-time builder - who weighs well over twenty stone, I feel that the crowbar was just for show.  While he's normally a good-natured jolly sort - a rosy cheeked, black bearded Santa Claus - he is also well capable of turning on the intimidating menace when it's needed (hint: in the four years I have been living here, I have NEVER been late with the rent).  Although I wasn't present when shit went down, I imagine that he approached the stubborn door with crowbar in hand, gave it an intimidating scowl, and it popped open of its own accord.

So I guess the moral of the story is that a good deed is indeed its own reward, the universe doesn't give a flying Fallujah about jammed doors, and if you are poverty stricken €10 will buy you a shitload of rice and beans in Aldi.

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