For those who are unaware (and most should be), door knobs come in perhaps four variants in Spain. There are the Ancient Doorknobs that have lastest for centuries and will last for centuries more as they are little more than a rock with one moving part. Then, there are the pre-Spanish Civil War doorknobs that are sophisticated and elegant, still function wonderfully and will again, keep working in to the distant future. Then there are the Franco Era Doorknobs that were not as elegant and were not particularly well made, but have opened doors consistently for decades, although they will fail at some early point in this 21st century. Then… there are the Return to Democracy doorknobs. With the loss of a dictator and the bizarre returned to a monarchy all manner of door closure systems when to shit.

Upon moving in to an apartment in Barcelona (built very much in the pre-Civil War era), I found myself not confronted by any of these four types, but instead a most questionable absence of doorknobs altogether. The property management firm’s believe that interior doorknobs were a frivolous pursuit, was something that we refused to accept. It was as if one were to say that windows were a ridiculous concept invented by the 19th century bourgeoisie middle class. Unfortunately as all the pre-Spanish Civil War doorknobs were then missing, what we eventually ended up with in their place was the installation of Return to Democracy doorknobs.

Somewhere, most likely in Southeast Asia, there is a manufacturing plant that has neither access to real metal, ceramics, or glue, but yet, in this undoubtedly Communist country, they make these Return to Democracy doorknobs used with great abundance in Spain to replace older, actual doorknobs. Upon their installation, they admittedly provide a great deal of fun given that they allow a door to be opened and closed for a good solid month after which point, the ceramic knob snaps off the metal collar and thus remains useless from that point onward.

In looking around for replacements (given that the carpenter who installed these has obviously been paid off by the Communist Return to Democracy doorknob factory) it is unfortunate to see that proper doorknobs do not exist. At some point, I will either find a hardware store somewhere in Europe (probably in the north) where they do, or buy some in the United State which amazingly, does believe that upon occasion, doors need to be closed.

In the meantime, this has left something of a problem in wondering how to close doors, especially the one for the toilet room which, no matter your feelings towards privacy, most would agree that a room with a toilet should have a door that can be closed. So, digging deeply in to my Slavic “praving” tradition of fixing things inherited from my father, I grabbed a small monkey wrench of mine, tightened it to the proper width of the shaft that has held the crumpled remains of the Return to Democracy doorknob and voilá, a door can now be closed. I would like to say that this will only be the case for a short time, but I know better than to say such nonsense.