January 20, 2017

My Soap Opera Life: Settling into Oxford + Another Quite Unfortunate Story

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It began with a simple request: could you show me how to turn on the stove?

This request would land me several displeased university administrators, one ruined hallmate relationship, and a lovely 162£ fine ($200).

My soap opera life has no mercy. It was only my second day in Oxford, and I was already creating disasters. No matter how many buttons I tried, the temperamental stovetop in my new university residence failed to work. So I sought help--I knocked on a hallmate's door, whose room neighbored the kitchen.

Luck wasn't on our side: the doors in our house automatically lock on their own. My hallmate quickly diagnosed the problem as a turned-off fuse switch, but then discovered that he'd locked himself out. Getting a spare key meant trekking down to main campus and trekking back up. My hallmate was in slippers, and I had just gotten back. So I had a brilliant idea.

"Let's try to pick the lock!" I exclaimed.

I had been successful before in pinches like these, so I was hopeful. Worst case scenario: tinker about for a bit, give up, then trek down to campus. Easy.

Nope. The bobby pin we used broke in half. Now, there was a foreign object stuck in the lock, and even if we did have a spare, the door wouldn't open. Now, instead of trekking down to campus for a spare, university administration would have to replace the entire lock. 

Hence my several displeased university administrators, one ruined hallmate relationship, and lovely 162£ fine.

We assumed that we'd be charged 90£ at most, since a reputable locksmith in town had given us that estimate before we'd notified the university. At one point, we'd even hoped that we wouldn't be charged at all, since it seemed that the college had taken care of it. But this is no feel-good soap opera--this is a tragedy, full of nasty plot twists. So of course I'd be charged the full replacement fee for someone else's door. And of course the cost would be exorbitant. 

Luckily, the visiting students' director has been trying to advocate for us, and my hallmate seems to want to play his part. But this nonetheless goes down in the books as one of the most unfortunate episodes yet (other noteworthy ones include causing a car accident on prom night and dropping my brand-new phone down a storm drain).

Please don't try this at home. Soap operas are best experienced from the safe comforts of your living room couch.

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