On a hot summer afternoon, I stop at the corner of Archer and Clark, waiting for the light to change. I look down on the sidewalk and see a key, get off my bike, and pick it up.

It’s on a ring with a round label and a door fob. The label says Garofalo above an apartment number and address. The building listed is a couple hundred feet ahead of me on Archer. I ride up. It’s a new apartment house with a vaguely aspirational name, maybe an unnecessary e at the end of one of the words to lend it class and sophistication. No directory by the door, so I use the fob and walk my bike in. I see a woman disappearing into the elevator.

What is my plan here? Before thinking too much about it, I lean the bike against the lobby wall and press the Up button for the elevator. On the fifth floor, it takes me a couple wrong turns before I locate the apartment. I knock but get no response. I have the feeling it’s vacant. Like many of the units may be. The building doesn’t have a lived-in feeling. Maybe it hasn’t been open long.

The other thing I think about is my wallet, which I left in a tote bag on the back rack of my bike. Also, my unlocked bike. Are the few residents of this generic structure trustworthy? Now the empty hallway feels vaguely sinister. What am I doing in here? Am I trespassing? Why didn’t I think about any of this before coming up? I slip the key under the door and go back down.

In the lobby, I run into the woman I saw before and ask whether she knows anyone on the fifth floor. She says she doesn’t but her husband would. I tell her about the key and she says it was so nice of me to do that, then continues through a doorway to the side of the elevator with her basket of laundry.

I check and my wallet is where I left it. I walk the bike out and ride the rest of the way downtown. I’m going to a movie, as I often do, but can’t now recall what it was. 

Less memorable than this random little adventure.