I have found a gym close, yesterday, a Holmes Place. It is big and well equipped and clean and they let me pay for a full month and it seems to include towel service. It is a lot of money for a regular gym, and very little for what it is if you figure I do not have a permanent address yet and thus would depend on day-passes otherwise.
I try to tell myself I haven't been here a full 48 hours yet so hiding in the AirBnB is OK. When I landed in the UK almost ten years ago, I promptly got a fever and was flat on my ass for 3 days, sweating and weak, going out once to do some shopping. I am doing better than that, although I almost lost it in the Aldi trying to find anything, got it together by resolving to live on take-out a few days, and then found an Endeka around the corner. Oh good, regular supermarkets are to be had here after all. My fridge is reasonably supplied.
***BIG FUCKING EDIT WHILE THIS ENTRY WAS IN PROGRESS --THIS HAPPENED LAST NIGHT: ***
Day 3 and fuck no.
Went out. Back home at 2 AM. Front door key of the apartment building does not work. I am locked out at 2 AM from my AirBnB. Can't bring myself to ring the doorbell of anyone else in the building; I am a stranger here. I sent a text to my absent host, but it is 2 AM, I know they will be asleep far away. Why does the key suddenly no longer work?
Google says there is a cheap hotel close by. I walk to it, ring night bell, they say they have no room. Walk to the Days Inn, half a mile away. Night bell rung, doors slide open. Night cashier is doing accounting, says they have no room either (mid-October, no rooms to be had in Berlin? Or too much trouble to open one?) Feels bad for me for my story and my German, writes down an address of a hostel. I walk to it, just see a late night bar with people outside. I go in, lady behind the bar asks a guy cleaning up, wasn't there a hostel here? No, city closed the hostel. I call two more hotels in the neighborhood, no rooms. Not one. I send a message to Simon vaguely hoping he might be awake even though I know he should not be.
Whatever I will do, I will be a burden to someone and I hate it. I want to be the fun and helpful guy and never rely on anyone because that makes people dislike you.
Brains are not kind at 3 AM when you are locked out in a strange city.
In desperation I walk back to the building, switching off my phone to conserve energy, ready to sleep in the doorway until someone walks out perhaps. I see light from the balcony on the garden-level flat. I walk on the grass, I see a dude on the couch, sleeping.
"Entschuldigung," I say.
I pray he wakes up.
He kind of looks, or not, it is too dark for me to tell how his eyes are.
I hold up my key, make movements, hoping he might be awake.
He waves me away.
I hold up my key, and then put my hands together in a prayer movement. Please.
He gets up, sleepy as fuck, in a sweater and underwear. I walk to the front door as he buzzes me in.
I try my key on the inside lock. Like butter, as it has been all day. I try the outside lock. Doesn't move again. Then I notice the latch was taped over. I can't quite piece it together, but I am guessing the outside lock was changed, and somehow the idea was that the door would just be open. Except it wasn't.
I am inside and will go to sleep now. I will send my host a message tomorrow.
And now my phone will not switch on. Whatever. Sleep.
*** Edit this morning ***
It is now the next morning. I heard the front door downstairs and ran down, a neighbor was coming in. Although I may have sounded slightly manic, she did indeed check her key, and indeed her key front door key does not work either on the outdoor lock. I am not crazy: the lock was changed yesterday. I checked closer and now it seems the hole for the latch has been patched with a shim and screws so the latch does not work at all (better than the tape which stopped working last night) and this seems for real. I just talked to my AirBnB host, who is awesome but in a small cottage in front of the coast of Ireland, and she will make the right calls. But so far:
- The front door lock was changed on me (and the building)
- The door could not be opened because the change was done provisionally and thus badly
- Someone does seem to be on top of it: the latch is now managed better
- We still all need new front door keys
- For some reason you can't get a hotel room right now in Neuköln, but I suspect that was because it was 2 AM
- I am and continue to be OK
- I *really* need to get better at asking for help. Simon just mentioned that I would have been furious if he had been locked out in the cold at 2 AM and had not called me.
- I need brunch