Not the most exciting opening there ever was to a blog post, but you know how I like to include all the little details of everyday life, the mundane as well as the interesting. And besides, I am actually rather a fan of the Korean door lock system (oh, help – the words “get a life” spring to mind).
As someone who has something of a reputation for losing door keys, it has been a huge load off my mind to know that I can’t lock myself out of my apartment. I can’t lose my key, as there is no key. I key in a 4-digit number at the front door of the building, and it slides open to let me in.
And at my own apartment door, the silvery panel there just flips up like a mobile phone, to reveal a space-agey keypad.
I punch in my ‘secret number’ (that’s what the Koreans call it, and I think it sounds much more fun and mysterious than PIN!), and it plays a little happy tune to tell me I can come in. It lights up in funky neon blue and green at night, and beeps each time I hit a button, so I know if I’ve accidentally pressed twice.
It’s very convenient and secure, and means I don’t have to live in my old constant fear of “where are my keys, did I bring my keys, did I lose my keys, did someone else find my keys and break in…?”, you know the sort of thing. Ahem. And it seems to be the way they do things here, as I haven’t seen a single apartment without this sort of system.
It does, however, have its drawbacks, particularly when you’re living in a building where the walls are as thin as they are in mine. Now, at first I worried that the constant beep-beep-beep noises of neighbours returning home and punching in their secret numbers would be incredibly irritating, but I quickly got used to it, and barely notice it any more. However, the other night my next door neighbour was either very drunk or deliberately trying to piss everyone off, as he felt the need to type in his number over and over again (beep-beep-beep-beep), resulting in it going from playing the happy tune (dee-dum-dee-daa!) to beeping furiously at him (beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep!: I believe this is door language for “Either come in or go away!”). This went on forever. At around 3am. Eventually I lost it and yelled “SHUT UP!!”, at which point he paused briefly and then recommenced his beeping. Then someone else yelled what I imagine is “SHUT UP!!” in Korean (I have made a note of it for future use) and he stopped.
Fortunately, a lovely blog reader friend has sent me some ear plugs. Take that, noisy neighbours! :)