The Case of the Closed Door

The interesting thing about any country is the small (but important) things which are a common practice by the locals but which leave the foreigners just plainly baffled who don’t know the protocol! And it’s in those moments, one might wonder whether this was part of the “divine comedy” or just some kind of random happening.
Here’s an incident from a few days back. I was out with my team for a full day of meetings in a different city. After dinner, I arranged to leave with a colleague (S) whose hotel was very close to mine. Now this colleague is from Israel and he was as foreigner here as I was. We walked to the parking garage along with a German colleague. By the time S and I were done setting up the navigation system, the other colleague “U” had left – cannot be a matter of more than 5 minutes. When S and I reached the gate, we found it closed and it just wouldn’t open. We tried all the buttons that we could see here and there but of course, they were not the right ones. Baffled by what could be wrong I called up another colleague who was still at the restaurant. He couldn’t understand what needs to be done from my description. So he gave the phone to another colleague who then asked me to look if a rope was hanging from the ceiling – which was there. We were supposed to pull that which then probably triggered some switch to open the gates! Who could have imagined that the red rope was for this purpose?

                   But it doesn’t end there – if the rope would have solved the problem, then I wouldn’t have had enough adventure to right about this! So no matter how much we tugged at the rope, there was simply no reaction. The colleague on the phone told me to look for a small door which would open from inside the garage – I found it and came out of the garage – but still no way to open the shutter so that we could bring the car out. I saw the card reader and tried swiping our office access-card – but of course without anything happening. To quote Douglas Adams here – “For a second nothing happened, then after a moment, nothing continued to happen”!

                    Then the colleagues at the restaurant said that they are also coming to the parking garage. So we waited. Then they came like the “Three Musketeers” (a little imagination needed here…imagine the coats as their capes and the phones like their swords…). They came from some other entrance and now they looked at the situation. Of course first thing was to do the obvious – pull the red rope – which didn’t help, then click on all the switches which we had already clicked – and that also didn’t help (any surprises there?) ! Then they read the German text on the paper stuck on the wall which gave some telephone number. One of them called and it went to voice mail (of course!). Now we again renewed our search for some clues..then someone had a brainwave – that may be there’s something to be done manually to raise that door (like the good ol’ days!). And as if on cue, we found a hand crank lying on the floor. Then a colleague fitted it in a groove and started rotating – and voila, the door started rising!!! Magic !!
And in a few minutes, we were out…I don’t know how the “musketeers” closed the gate after taking out their cars. So now there are two things to be found to close all the loose ends – how did U come out before S and me and how did the other three colleagues close the gate after we’d left. But that’s for later..for now I am glad that I had had this adventure to write about from the comfort of my home!

3 thoughts on “The Case of the Closed Door

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  1. Hahahaha, I’ve had a similar experience to that. Not even in a different country, just a different part of town. You get so used to doing things a certain way that when someone suggests something different you get thrown for a loop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. something like this happened for me too. my first day in germany, i was working late. finally while leaving, i came down. and the building door is closed. for a moment, my senses activated the fear glands. later i could see the steps leading to basement. the lucky thing here is, as soon as you get off the steps a hanging rope hits you and convincing you to pull and get out 🙂


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