Housewarming: Bad Decisions In A Small Apartment

One time I got locked out of my own housewarming party. This is how it went down. 

In early 2014, me and the wife moved from Queens to Brooklyn. We had given up a spacious apartment in Astoria with lots of natural light for a shitty shoebox filled with cockroaches. The plus side was that our new neighborhood of Park Slope was a gentrifiers wet dream. Prospect Park was only a few blocks away plus a bar AND a dumpling shop sat right underneath our building.

We spent a few weekends sprucing up the new place. After a month or so we decided to have some friends over on a Saturday night. 

On the day of the party we spent the afternoon cooking and cleaning. Two mates came over at dusk to record a podcast. Then the other guests started to arrive around 8ish.

An Australian girl called Alice who I’d met once before arrived with her boyfriend Mark, who was also Australian. They had come from a boozy brunch in Williamsburg. I said hello to Alice and introduced myself to Mark.

There didn’t seem to be anything too peculiar about Mark upon first impression. I offered him a beer and we chatted in the kitchen for a few minutes. Our conversation wasn’t groundbreaking; standard Aussie expat in New York shit. I’d hit my vape after the podcast so I was feeling pretty jangly, and Mark seemed in equally good spirits.

A party in a small apartment is funny because you can pretty much see and hear everyone at all times. If you’re an eavesdropper you should move to New York and get yourself invited to a ton of shindigs. You’ll be in heaven.

Some time passed. I was sitting on the couch talking to another friend when I noticed Mark was being particularly boisterous in the kitchen. He was gesticulating intensely and his voice was the loudest at the party by a fair margin.

I kept hitting my vape and crushing beers. Strangers were talking to each other. Everyone seemed like they were having a good time.

At one point I walked into the kitchen to grab another beer. This is when I ran into Mark.

“Hey man! Do you wanna go get some coke?” he said to me.


“Cool man. I know a guy in the city. Can I borrow your phone so I can text him? I’m nearly outta juice.”

I still don’t know why I said yes. I was having a great time and didn’t need any coke. And I especially didn’t feel like going on a coke-trek.

Mark texted his guy then gave me my phone back. Together we did the “we’re heading out to score some drugs” talk of shame with our respective partners. My missus just shook her head and smiled, whereas Alice seemed genuinely annoyed.

Mark called an Uber on his dying phone. The driver was close by so I had to get ready real quick. I was trying to find my keys when Mark started yelling.


The realization hit me as we charged down the stairs of my building. Mark was already sloppy drunk. I’d been too stoned or stupid to notice. Going into the city probably wasn’t the best idea. 

We exited the building and Mark started frantically scanning the street for the Uber.

“Hey man. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t wanna go into the city,” I said.

The Uber arrived. 


“I’m not coming,” I repeated.

Mark was stuck between a rock and a hard place. His ride to coke-town was waiting, but his belligerence had lost him his saddle partner. 


I considered the situation. I definitely didn’t want to go into the city with him. But at the same time, thirsty cats need their milk.

“Take it.” I took my phone out of my pocket and handed it to him. “Just don’t lose it.”

Mark snatched the phone out of my hand and jumped into the Uber.

Feeling relieved, I turned around. I reached into my pocket and realized my keys were still upstairs. Thanks to Mark rushing me, I’d left without them. 

Locked out, I tried buzzing the apartment. But the buzzer was broken; we’d been meaning to get it fixed ever since we moved in. And Mark had my phone so I couldn’t call anyone. I tried yelling, but it was a loud Saturday night, and there was no way anyone at the party would be able to hear my voice calling up from the street. 

I slumped down on my stoop. What a dickhead. Locked out of his own party before 10pm.

A black dude came out from the bar underneath my building to smoke a cigarette.

“What’s the matter man?” he said. “You look troubled.”

I gave the dude a quick recap of my night.

“You left your party to go get coke?”


He flashed a toothy smile.

“I have coke,” he said as he pointed to his jacket pocket.

The irony of the situation made me feel like even more of a twat. The guy tried to sell me some powder but I politely declined. We chatted for a while as he finished his smoke, then he want back inside the bar. 

Five minutes later I realized that I could buzz my Super who lived in the apartment above me. I did just that and he let me back in.

The night was a good one. I got drunk and endured some good-natured ribbing for getting locked out of my own bash. Mark never returned which embarrassed Alice, but I ended up getting my phone back a few days later so there was no harm done. 

Upon reflection, there are two lessons to be gleaned from this story.

One; always be a good host and never leave your own party. 

And two; sometimes the very thing you’re chasing in life can be found in the jacket pocket of a black guy just a few floors below.