We’re moving at the end of the month to what in Abu Dhabi gets called a “villa,” but by villa I don’t mean a small 18th century castle perched on the edge of a Tuscan hilltop.  Instead it’s a townhouse, the second in a row of four, on a small street. Across the street? An identical row of four houses. Next street over? More identical rows of houses. It’s a bit pod-like, I have to say–and I’m sure that at some point I will walk into someone else’s house by mistake.

Although I probably wouldn’t be able to get in to my neighbor’s pod house villa because it will be locked. And by locked I mean seriously, totally locked:


I mean a whole lotta locks. These keys are the keys we received for our villapod — not the keys for the entire complex.

In our current apartment, there are doors to the living room, doors to all the bathrooms, doors to all the bedrooms, a door to the little hall that leads to the bedrooms, a door to the kitchen, a door to the little hallway that leads to the kitchen, a door to the “maid’s room” (where we keep the washing machine), and a door to the tiny bathroom connected to the maid’s room.  All of those doors have locks and keys, which when we moved in, we removed and put somewhere safe. And by safe I mean I don’t know where they are.

Now we’re moving into a bigger space. More space, more doors. More doors, more locks. More locks, more keys.

I don’t know how to explain this architectural fascination with doors: why a lock on hallway doors? why a locking door on the kitchen? Am I supposed to A) have a live-in housekeeper; and B) lock her in the kitchen until dinner is ready?  I don’t know how to break it to the designers, but we’re living in an era where actual privacy is impossible–and by impossible, I mean everything from the NSA kefuffle (really? The Patriot Act enabled violations of civil liberties? I’m shocked, shocked) to the fact that your most embarrassing high school moments can surface at any moment on facebook, courtesy of old enemies friends with scanners.  Given that any actual privacy these days is pretty much a myth, all these keys and locks seem… quaint. Positively twentieth-century.

We will do with these keys what we did with all the keys we pulled out of the doors in this apartment: pile them in a box and put them somewhere safe. And by safe, I mean nowhere within reach of Liam, who would like nothing more than to lock his brother in some small enclosure for a month or two.

Of course, before we do anything, we have to find the key to the front door.