All Locked Up: It Seems So Simple #34


The other day PapaChopstix had some transportation issues.

As you may know, our main vehicles are the Chinese version of Schwinn pedal powered machines.

We rely on our steady mounts to get to class, to the hospital, to anywhere at all, really.

They’re usually pretty convenient.

Unless the lock mechanism has an internal malfunction error.

I.e. all the inner parts get moved around so the key won’t work.

That was his problem last week as he was preparing to go to class with China Surprise in the backpack baby carrier and his schoolbooks in the regular backpack.

Last year when it got cold something similar happened to me, and the maintenance person for our building saw me struggling and came out with a cigarette lighter and held it under the lock.

It opened easily after that, and she explained that trapped water that froze overnight “locked” the lock.

So Papa went upstairs and got a lighter, but to no avail.

The gate guard and several grannies out for their morning stroll came over to help, and one produced a tool of the rusted, large razor blade variety for him to try.

Like this.

Even the gate guard tried to withhold a chuckle at that one, but dutifully tried a few times to saw at the lock before giving up.

Nobody had the right kind of tool to cut off the lock.

But there sure was a buzz of conversation going on as the grannies were discussing the lock, who might be able to help, the baby on his back and how she probably wasn’t wearing enough clothing, and all other sorts of newsworthy things.

Fast forward to later in the day.

Papa went back out with his language helper to make some progress on the situation.

They tried a hammer and brick setup, but the brick crumbled while the lock stood firm.

The two of them went to several different bicycle repairmen and gate guards around the university campus, to no avail.

Finally they called another friend, who had the appropriate pair of heavy duty mega-loppers at his workplace.

Like this.

The loppers were hand-delivered in a large pink plastic bag that evening.

When the gate guards noticed yet another attempt, they came over to help steady the lock.

In 3 quick little snips, the heavy duty chain fell to the ground.

Mission accomplished!

In the final analysis, we are quite glad that not too many people around our campus will admit to owning such a tool.

And the foreign family with 4 kids had created yet another topic for the neighborhood to discuss over dinner that evening.


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