Wednesday, May 9, 2007

One Fine Evening Locked Out of My House

This actually happened to me nearly two years ago--August 3, 2005 to be exact. You might wonder how I know the exact date. You may keep wondering.

One fine day, my son called me to tell me he’d locked his keys in his car, and could I come pick up his wife, take her to their apartment so she could change, and then take her to work while he waits for the locksmith to show up? Sure, no prob. She and I had pulled up outside their apartment before she realized that her house key was on the keyring...that was locked in the car! So we went back to the parking garage where the car was, and there was my son with the locksmith. The locksmith was way too talkative. He kept up a stream of consciousness yak that went from how Hondas sometime come with inferior glass windows to how the locksmithing business caused his divorce to what a piece of crap his van is to what the average time for a locksmith to pick a lock is (20 minutes in case you are wondering) to how fast HE can pick a lock (7 minutes in case you care). I’ve never seen a jaw flap so much, I swear to god. So when he finally left (and I swear, he was still talking when he slammed his piece of crap van door and drove away), we decided that my daughter-in-law could just take the car, and I’d feed my son some lunch and take him home.

So during lunch, my son and I talked about how we rarely lock ourselves out of anything, that he usually has a ritual attached to locking doors, and that I am nearing obsessive-compulsive with my own door locking ritual. I make sure I have my keys in my hand, and that the hand that holds those keys is the hand that actually locks the door. I dropped him off at his apartment and I went home to work on some much-needed interior house painting. I ended up working all afternoon into the evening, and then decided that what I then needed was a hot shower and a trip to Barnes & Noble/Starbucks for a latté. On my way out the door I grabbed the garbage bag that needed to go to the curb, and I slammed the front door behind me.

Uh oh.

Apparently, my door locking ritual involves having SOMEthing in my hand, but not necessarily keys. My first thought was, “oh crap. Now I can’t get into my car.” But then it quickly changed to “Hey, waaaaait a minute!” and then straight to some creative cussing. Of course, "Significant Other" was at work (not to be home until midnight) and it was 9:00pm. That’s a long time to sit outside and swat mosquitoes. So I began my first attempt at a home break-in. I have discovered that you can indeed break into a house in my neighborhood and the neighbors will not notice—even when you make quite a bit of noise doing it and even when the next-door neighbor is a reserve police officer. I knew that we had only one window that isn’t locked, but it is--get this--duct taped shut. "Significant Other" uses this window to run antenna wires out of for his ham radio stuff. (Sometimes I think I live with Gomez Adams.) The bottom of this window is at least four feet off the ground, and the window is not even 18 inches wide. This was going to be a real trick.

I scoured the yard for something to stand on. Earlier in the afternoon, I had just happened to put a big plastic tub of sticks on the curb for trash pick up. I dumped out the sticks and used the bucket to reach and pull off all the duct tape outside of the window...but SigOth had duct taped the INSIDE of the damn window, too! I had to wiggle and jam the window to try to wretch it free...finally! But the window was still too damn high for me to crawl into, and I didn’t have enough leverage to hoist myself up to the window. Then I remembered the galvanized tub in the backyard that we fill with water and let the granddaughter play in. (Mind you, I’m doing all of this while smacking mosquitoes and groping around in darkness. I did not have the good sense to have turned on any porchlights!) I put the galvanized tub upside down under the window, and the plastic tub upside down on top of that. Finally I had the height I needed. I considered tossing my purse inside (because I didn’t want to leave it outside, even for a minute), but then I thought what if the cops saw me wriggling through this window, pointed their flashlight at me, and demanded to know that the hell was going on? Well, I would have just tossed my only form of identification right in the window! Besides, what if I found out I couldn’t get my butt through the window? Then I’d be locked out without my purse. I decided to leave it outside along with my shoes.

I looked in the window to see what I would be crawling on or stepping into if I did manage to get myself through the window. On the other side of this window is a table that includes one of SigOth's computers, his ham radio stuff, and a whole lot of crap—things he’s collected that I can’t identify. In addition, there are random things on the floor surrounding his desk and table. Simply leaping into this room á la Errol Flynn could be deadly. This would take careful planning.

So here is where years of yoga study really paid off. I’m not sure exactly how I folded myself nor how I managed to get my hips and one leg in the window, but I suddenly found myself with one foot on the ONLY bare spot on the table. My other leg was still outside, and my foot was balancing precariously on the plastic tub which was balanced on the galvanized tub, which (did I mention?) was resting on hard, lumpy ground which made the tubs rock back and forth a little. So the entire scene was ridiculously cartoonish, I’m sure. I had to gather all concentration, focus my mind, and push away all of the bad things that could happen with my next move, because I knew at least one of the bad things that could happen would involve a great deal of pain. I took a deep breath, pushed off with my “outside” leg, squeezed my torso and hips though the window, and then realized that in complete darkness I was standing on only one foot on a cluttered computer table with no idea what I was going to do next. I reached up and steadied myself with one hand on the ceiling. So once again, I put all of my concentration into the one foot that was planted (the one on the table), kept all of my weight balanced there while I swung my other foot ever so slowly through the window, over the table, and toward the ground. YESSS! Made it. I slammed the window shut, grabbed my keys, locked the door THIS time with the hand that held the keys, ran to the outside of the window to gather my purse and shoes, and drove straight to Barnes & Nobles for my (well deserved) latté.

Have I locked myself out of the house since then? I'm not telling. I do NOT want to jinx myself by even talking about it again.

1 comment:

David said...

I also lose my keys very often and I'm thinking maybe become a locksmith? Because hiring a good locksmith is never cheap. But hiring a dishonest or incompetent one is always expensive. There are several skills that are prerequisites to becoming a professional locksmith; excellent manual dexterity, an interest in mechanical and electronic gadgetry, good communications/public relations, maths and possibly some carpentry skills are all assets.