Melinda and I traveled for most of February and for the first time gave our Ayi Pink keys to the apartment so she could keep the dust from taking over and keep our plants alive. It worked, both the plants and the apartment looked great upon our return! So we decided to have a set of keys made for Ayi so that she can enter the apartment when we’re away, or when I’m off doing something on cleaning mornings.
I have seen this man regularly since moving to our neighborhood, he has a stand set up on the southwest corner of South Pudong Road, underneath the pedestrian overpass, where he repairs shoes and makes keys. I walked up there in a heavy rain and when I saw that the street corner barber and the shoemaker on Weifang Road were not out on this wet and windy day, I began to doubt if I’d have the chance to have keys made, but there he was, huddled under his large, blue umbrella. I showed him the two keys I wanted made and he unzipped a large cloth bag filled with key blanks; after a few minutes of rooting around he found what he was looking for. Power for his key machine and grinder was via an extension cord running from the power room of the nearby escalator. This is not the automated key making machine you find at a Home Depot in the United States, this is a small machine that requires constant small adjustments and lots of tapping, grinding and filing. After a few minutes he handed me my keys. “It’ll be a miracle if they work,” I thought. And for 20 RMB ($3.27 USD) I headed home with two new keys and work they did, better than most I’ve had made at Home Depot!