Life as a real estate agent in Harlem is full of great places, great people, amazing food, and certainly its share of adventure. "Adventure" is a very kind word for it. You never know when you meet a new set of clients, what they are looking for and what they will ultimately bring to your life.
You never know when you open a door to an apartment you haven't seen before, whats going to be on the other side. Is it a fully renovated spacious apartment with new hard wood floors, marble counters, and twelve windows in the bedroom? Or is it completely gutted in the middle of renovation where you have to step over, literally, the kitchen sink to get to the bedroom just to check the place out?
And then there's the day when "adventure" becomes something even more fun.
You are taught certain things when you train to become an agent. When you go into an apartment, take the front door key and put it on your pinky finger so you don't pocket it and you always know where it is. Turn on all the lights so you can really see what the apartment looks like. Put down the toilet seat for pictures. And when you first go into an apartment, turn the deadbolt so that the door cannot close behind you.
Why turn the deadbolt, you may ask?
Well many apartments are in the middle of undergoing fixes from the last tenant, renovations, or simply have things that need fixed. A big one is the front door knob. So we deadbolt it on the way in, so we can't get locked in the apartment on accident.
And the one time you forget to do it, is the one time it happens. Like it did to me. Just the other day.
I knew it the moment I heard the door shut behind me. I walked into the apartment and it was beautiful, and I got lost in how great the place looked. And the door started to shut. As if in some slow motion scene from a movie I reached for the knob, but too late, and I heard the ominous click of the door locking in to the frame. I tried the knob, and for the first time ever...nothing. It turned a little, but I couldn't get the door to budge.
So I went about taking pictures of the apartment, hoping against hope that by the time I got back it would have magically opened. Which it did not.
I just was thankful that I wasn't with clients at the time.
So I called a few people to see if they could come help me out. Nope. So I called the superintendent of the building. Voicemail. So I looked at the fire escape. I even got so far as to go out onto the fire escape landing and contemplate lowering the ladder and exiting to the ground. But there was a crowd of people there and my pride wasn't ready for that yet. I thought about calling the fire department or the police and quickly dismissed that idea. I started thinking about rationing the snacks I had in my bag, as if I was in an episode of "The Walking Dead" or "Lost".
And just when I was out options, I heard a key in the door. I ran to the front room, and there was the super, showing the apartment to an investor in the building. I played it off as if I was just in the other room taking pictures, and not dangling from the outside of the bedroom. I quickly went out the front door, and kissed the inside of the elevator. Which in retrospect was a really bad idea, but I was too happy at that time to care.
And I have never walked into an apartment again without that satisfying click of that deadbolt turning in my hand.
It's always an "Adventure."