Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lyrics of the Day

I'm a couple of days late, but today's lyrics are from one of my favorite Lucinda Williams songs, "Changed The Locks." My brother might call it a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers song (from the She's The One soundtrack), but Williams wrote it:

I changed the lock on my front door so you can't see me anymore
And you can't come inside my house, and you can't lie down on my couch
I changed the lock on my front door
The song builds intensity as the singer changes one thing after another to evade a former lover: phone number, car, clothes, train tracks, and finally the name of the town. Both the original and Petty's version are excellent.

On Tuesday we changed the lock on our front door. This is significant because it was likely the first time in our home's 88-year existence. In fact, our old mortise lock was a non-standard size... and the size of mortise locks was standardized in the 1930s!

The lock wasn't in great shape when we bought our home nine years ago, and its condition has steadily deteriorated under my neglectful watch (this is why we don't have kids--I can't even take care of a house). For the past two months, it has been nearly impossible to unlock the door from the outside. Every time we shamefully skulked down the walkway to our side door, I could feel the eyes of our neighbors--responsible homeowners--glaring at us with disdain.

I always feel a little guilty about tossing away vintage features of our home, even when they are worn out and hardly functional. So many of our house's original features have been stripped away by previous owners that I want to keep what little is left. In this case, however, I became frustrated enough with the old lock that I wanted to simply be done with it.

Our new lock didn't come cheaply. We paid over $500 for the hardware and labor, which included filling in the space formerly occupied by our oversized, non-standard lock. In return, we have a deadbolt twice as deep, knobs that don't require set screws, secure door plates, and a lock that works when you turn the key. It looks good and works great, but it lacks the charm of the old one. The installer took away the old lock, and part of me wonders if it's selling for $$$ on eBay right now.

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