When I returned from the spooky hotel, my roommate had been locked out for 2-3 hours...not because she didn't have a key, but because half of it had broken off in the lock. I have to admit that I wasn't too surprised, since the door had been giving us trouble for the past few months.
But here we were at 10 pm, waiting for a locksmith to come and get us out of this mess.
A short while after I arrived, around the corner came 3 young men in blue jumpsuits, adorned with helmets, ropes, and other rescue gear. Here was our "locksmith." Very macho.
After a brief examination they explained the options to Zhenya, which were to 1) break the door (less expensive) or 2) break in through the window and open the door from the inside (more expensive, but sparing the door). We chose the second option, although the price was exorbitant.
Then the rescue guys went to meet the neighbors upstairs and explain why they needed to make use of their balcony. The 5th floor occupants weren't home, so they had to use the 6th floor, adding another 1,000 rubles to the bill. I felt a bit taken advantage of, but what else could we do? We wanted to sleep in our own beds that night.
One of the guys stayed with us while the other two did their rappelling. Then a second guy came down to join us in the corridor, and pretty soon we heard a noise from inside the apartment as the third guy had successfully broken in through the balcony window. He wrestled with the lock for a while, and finally another of the guys went to bring him more tools.
And then, the door clicked open. We were in. And now that we were in, we were there to stay, because the lock was rendered useless and we could only lock the door using the little hand-operated button on the inside.
We juggled our plans for the next day so that one of us would be home to lock the door from the inside. In the afternoon, a regular locksmith (no jumpsuit) came to install a new lock.
In the end, the "rescue" and new lock cost about as much as the original door. It's not my apartment, so I can't really comment. It's one of those details of life that seems unnecessary. Not the door, but spending the time to deal with it. But we are really thankful to have that experience behind us. No one got hurt, and life goes on.