I am standing in the underground car park of my apartment block about to punch access numbers into the lock on the door to the bin store. That’s been the system for a few months now and I have just about memorised the code.
The problem, however, is that I’ve forgotten to bring my glasses and I can’t read the numbers so I’ll have to trail back up to my apartment to get them. The quickest way to do that is to use the internal door from the car park that leads directly through to the stairs up into the apartments.
That used to be a doddle. Not anymore, though, because guess what? The management company has decided that door now needs a number code as well. And I can’t remember it. Now, since I am quite an organised type I have it recorded on a list on my iPhone along with countless other passwords with all kinds of MI5-type personal explanatory notes accompanying them.
That’s in case the phone falls into the wrong hands and they crack its access code which is, since we’re on the subject of passwords, the same four numbers that get me into, among other things, my bank account, my health insurance details or my book borrowings from the library.
Who knew that four little numbers could wield such power.
Anyway, I’m still in the car park, now standing in front of the door in question but I can’t read the code in my phone because, yes, that’s right, I haven’t got my glasses.
In reality, I don’t need to get into the actual bin store at all and yet that’s where this whole pantomime began. I am actually trying to gain access to the electricity meters which are housed in another room entirely in the car park.
To get into that room, however, I have to first get into the bin store where two key-boxes have been installed, inside of which lies the magic key to the meter room.
Both key-boxes have access numbers. Of course, they do. Different access numbers; sure, what else would you expect?
I try the first one. It has those fiddly numbers that you have to move up and down as if you are a safe-cracker in Ocean’s Eleven. Thank God I now have my glasses. I eventually get the numbers lined up. No dice. I try again and then again and, hey presto, the box flies open to reveal a key tagged with a yoke telling me that this is the key for – the bicycle store.
On to the other key-box. Another number is lined up after more fiddling around and finally I’m in. But the key isn’t. Why not? Because some eejit has failed to return it to its box. It’s another two days before it’s back and I’m able to finally gain access to the electricity meters. By which time it’s too late to submit a reading.
Do you remember when there were things called keys? I used to have my very own key for the meter room, bin store, bicycle room and that door from the car park into the apartments.
Gone are the days when it was about making life easier for the service users. Now it’s about facilitating the providers.
Talk about feeling like you’re only a number.