Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hannah and the evil elevator

My friend Hannah was working on the island of Mallorca in July, and house-sitting north of the city in August.  So she left her old apartment at the end of June and needed to find a new one for September.

She found a great piso near the city center last week.  On Friday morning before going to Alcobendas for the Spanish Championship 2nd division ultimate frisbee tournament, I helped her move her stuff into the new apartment.

She got a taxi from our friend's apartment (where most of her stuff had been stored this summer) to her new apartment.  It only cost 6 euros!  (Great option for moving, by the way.  I did the same thing with Izzy when she moved halfway through our study abroad year.  Yes, I've lived here before Herm!)  The taxi driver helped us load everything in the trunk, and unloaded it as well.  

It was going really well; I was surprised how fast and easy it had been.  We got to Hannah's apartment and started loading things into the elevator.  There was a guy mopping and cleaning the apartment's entrance while we were doing so.

We got everything in and there wasn't room for a person, so I started walking up the stairs to call the elevator to Hannah's floor.  Up, up, up, I go.  I press the elevator button but I don't hear anything.  I press it again and wait.  Maybe it's a really slow elevator.  I still don't hear anything.

Then I hear Hannah, "Rebe?" Yes...  "The doors won't close".  What?  I went down to see what was up with this elevator.

Now most elevators in apartments in Spain have the inside doors that open and close from the sides to the center, like normal elevators in the United States.  Then there's usually always an outside door that opens outwards like normal doors.  If you're getting on the elevator, you can't open the outside door until the inside doors have opened.  Likewise, the inside doors won't close until you close the outside door.

So Hannah had closed the outside door so that the inside doors would close, but when they started coming together in the center they hit one of her suitcases and wouldn't close.  The problem is that they wouldn't open either.  They just stayed halfway-closed, which prevented us from opening the outside door to move the luggage.  Since the outside door will only open once the inside doors have opened.

Panicking, we asked the cleaning guy if he knew what we should do.  He came over and tried opening the outside door of the elevator.  Unsuccessful, he told us that we'd have to tell the "president" of the apartment building and they would take care of it.  "Who's the president?" we asked.  The guy didn't know who, but he said he thought the president lived on the third floor or something.  "But I live on that floor," Hannah told him.  "Oh, well then I don't know." said the guy.  And then he left.

Awesome.  Hour one of being in the new apartment and we managed to get all of Hannah's stuff trapped in the elevator.  None of her roommates were home, and she didn't have their cell numbers yet.  I was about ready to start knocking on people's doors inside the apartment to figure out who we should contact, when Hannah saw a plaque on an adjacent door with an elevator company name and number.

She called the number and reported the problem to some woman.  The woman said they would send someone over, but when Hannah asked more or less when they would be able to send someone, the lady said she didn't know.

This was a problem, because we were supposed to leave for Alcobendas in two hours.  We didn't know if we should stay down by the elevator waiting, or if we could continue doing the errands we had planned to do after moving (aka stop at a pharmacy, grocery shop, and make lunch).

In the end we left a note on the evil elevator saying that we had called the elevator company and someone was coming.  We also left Hannah's cell phone number on the note, so they could call her whenever it got opened up.

Then we left for some food.
Hannah and the evil elevator

After returning from the grocery store, we relaxed passed the time for a while up in Hannah's apartment, waiting anxiously for the elevator people to come.

Knowing how inefficient other Spanish offices can be, I was expecting the worst.  What if they couldn't get here until 20.00?  Or not until tomorrow?  We were planning to eat lunch around 15.00, then head to Alcobendas.

Much to my surprise, the doorbell buzzed a bit after 14.00.  It was the elevator guy!  He got the door open, so we took out the suitcase that had blocked the door and Hannah went up with the rest of the stuff.

When the elevator came back down, I put in her big suitcase.  Before I got on the elevator, the elevator guy had me sign some form (yes, me!  The girl who doesn't even live in this building...), and then handed me a receipt that showed he had been there.

I went up, and we got everything into Hannah's apartment and out of the elevator.  We could finally relax!

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