It really does start with nobody is dead. I mean, the grateful thing, I mean when something shitty happens, you have to assess and think about what’s really important, and as Dmitri, the emergency locksmith who came to change the locks on my house yesterday, on account of my house keys had been stolen along with my bag, said in response to my memorial day weekend crime, when I said that nobody was dead, “That’s a good thing–1,000%”
I’m always fascinated by the chance encounters you have, that really make you pause. Dmitri was one of them. Desperate for a break this weekend, in an endless stream of all you have to do when your bag, with your wallet in it, is stolen, Dmitiri was like a piece of crusty warm bread with a fat slab of melting butter on it. He was kind, and he made me laugh. What more is there? When I began telling him my story, he asked, alarmed, if my green card was also stolen, but I told him I was a citizen (but it did make me realize how bad that would probably be to have to deal with). He works seven days a week as a locksmith. He’s Russian, and when I commented on working so much, he said, in his thick and classic Russian accent, “There is no other choice.” Of course, he has a choice as to his demeanor. And it was great. What a nice guy.
When, at the end of replacing my locks, I had to pay him, he told me that his company didn’t accept checks. Of course, the reason I was having my locks changed to start with was because of the stolen bag which left me with no access to money, no credit cards, ONLY CHECKS. Dmitri called his boss to ask, under the circumstances, if they’d accept a check, saying that he’d take my check, put it in his personal account and then pay the company, but they said no, they would have to check with the even bigger boss, and call us back. I mean, here’s Dmitiri, who is willing to take my check, and be the one to get screwed if I am trying to pull one over on the locksmith company, and the boss won’t even let him do that. Russian words were flying, and my man Dmititri was getting heated. We sat in the kitchen waiting for the phone to ring. I learned he lived in Providence, his girlfriend was in medical school, he’d been here for 10 years. We both kept saying, “What do they think the alternative is here, to take out the locks?” Dmitri kept assuring me, “I will not take out the locks, 1,000%” (“1,000” was obviously Dmitri’s phrase of the moment).
The boss called again, more angry Russian words. When 15 minutes went by, I asked for the boss’s number and called, explaining my dilemma. My bag was stolen, my credit cards, debit card, my husband was away, I had nothing but a check, he could call the Essex Police to corroborate my story (I was suddenly in an episode of Brookline CSI). After my explanation, IN WHICH I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE CLEAR ABOUT THE FACT THAT I HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT A CHECK AND MY PASSPORT, he said, “But do you have a credit card?” Swear to God.
That little exchange reminded me of one of my favorite movie clips ever:
Anyway, Mr. Lock called me back and told me that they don’t normally take checks, but under the circumstances…..And that was it. I practically wanted to hug Dmitri, but I shook his hand instead. He was just the human being awesomeness I needed. It was a reminder that people are good, as I believe in my soul (except for the people who took my bag, who are not good, but evil, or desperate, or some combination of the two, and for whom I feel sorry, instead of mad at). Vodka shots all around (Russian vodka, of course), served with lamb.