I considered packing my Leatherman multi-tool (thanks again, DW, best Christmas present ever) when I came to Taiwan for this little vacation. But I decided against it. Because I am an idiot.
The AirBnB that I’m staying in here in Taipei is a small studio apartment. The door lock is a Korean electronic lock that you open with a smart card. Pretty modern and convenient. and foolproof. But not idiot-proof, as I proved.
I have to say from the outset that this is not entirely my fault. It’s mostly my fault, but I can share some of the blame. I blame physics. Doors that are opened too quickly have a infuriating tendency to slip out of one’s grip and slam into the wall. Is that my fault? I think not. On top of that, fast-moving objects, like door handles, have the bewildering tendency to break when they slam into a wall. While I admit responsibility for starting the door in motion, can I be held responsible for the laws of physics? That’s a little unfair.
Now, I’m pretty sure that the engineers anticipated a lot of eventualities in the process of designing this electronic door lock. They clearly did not consider the idiot factor, though. That’s where I come in.
From the inside, you have to use the door handle to open the door. There is no other way to open it. I know this, because I was trapped inside the apartment while I tried to figure out how to open the door without a functioning door handle. Turns out, that’s kinda hard to do.
None of the “tools” in the apartment (forks, chopsticks, clothes hangers, zipper pulls, electric appliance plugs, paring knives) would fit into the hexagonal hole in the door mechanism. I was completely trapped inside. On top of that, it was a national holiday, and the service center was closed. The landlord was out of town too. It was a perfect storm. I was on my own.
After an hour of increasingly panicked head-scratching, I decided to think outside the box. Using a table knife as a screwdriver, I removed the screws holding the bathroom doorknob on.
I could jam those long screws into the hexagonal hole. But I still couldn’t turn it.
So I used the knife as a lever.
Once I was out, I ran to the nearest hardware store and bought an Allan wrench. It worked like a charm.
So now I’m paying for my idiocy. Literally. A repairman is currently replacing the whole mechanism, and I am paying for it.
Next time someone suggests that we play escape room, I will cheerfully suggest that that someone kiss my butt. I played escape room for real. I won, and it only cost me $80 for a new lock. Even better, there was no guarantee that there was a solution to this one. I’m an idiot, but I’m a resourceful idiot.
Call me MacGyver. Idiot MacGyver.
And from now on, I am taking my Leatherman with me on every. single. trip.