Locked Away

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another morning of having the house closed up and the AC blasting away! Soaker hoses on by 8am along with laundry in so made my way to Forest Hill Cemetery for my morning walk. Did six passes at the incline hill doing all of the supposed to be good for you yoga breathing and paying attention to my core and letting my extremities glide from it as Michael, my dance teacher, instructs each week. I arrived home hot and sweaty; went into my very small sun room bathroom to put water on my face before changing. I generally push the door closed more out of habit than necessity as I have a wall of large picture windows just outside the bathroom forgetting that my new fence in the back yard gives me all the privacy I need.

I live in a 1920 two story Dutch Colonial house and most of the interior walls, doors and trim are originals. When I went into the bathroom, the door closed, the doorknob on the inside fell off and the bolt locked tight against the door jam. Okay, I thought, I can handle this. I tried to grab the post that was left to pull it towards me so I could put the doorknob handle back on and turn the lock. As I did that, the doorknob on the other side of the door fell off leaving me with no doorknob handles on either side of the door and a bolt still locked tight in place. I started to panic. My cell phone was in the kitchen along with my glasses to correct farsightedness which means I can’t really see small things up and personal very well….like doorknob screws and bolts. My AC was turned on; windows closed as well as were most of my neighbors. I started to yell for help; the more I yelled the more my panic mode geared up. After a minute of that I realized that unless I got myself out of the bathroom, it was unlikely that anyone would hear or find me in a few days…maybe a week.

So I drank some water and opened the vent to let AC air come in full tilt. I told myself the first step was to calm down and drink water. I sat on the stool cover and drank water and breathed. I thought about what was in the bathroom that I could use as tools. I pulled out my manicure instruments as they were strong yet small enough to maneuver around what was remaining of the doorknob setting and the bolt. I thought if I could unscrew the setting that held the doorknob in place the bolt would also loosen up. I used one of the manicure instruments as a screwdriver and got the four screws out of the setting and it fell off. But, the bolt remained firmly in place. I kicked and pounded on the door but that strategy did nothing except bruise my hand. I started to panic again but told myself this could be worse. I could be locked in this small bathroom on this 90 degree day with no AC! And, so what if it took me all day to figure out how to loosen up this bolt? I wasn’t going anyplace anyway. I sat back down on the stool cover and eyed up the bolt locked into the door jamb connection. I took one of my cuticle pushers and tried to jimmy it behind the bolt. It was too big. Dug around in my manicure tools and found a small cuticle pusher with a sharp edge. I slid it slowly behind the bolt and it fit. I then pushed the bolt toward the left unlocking the bolt. Since I had no doorknobs to use to open the door, I reached with my left arm and hand to the top of the door that had an inside door stopper and pulled on it towards me. The door opened and I was free. I duct taped the bolt against the door and taped the bolt hole closed so I cannot inadvertently repeat the same drama. If I had been a short lady or someone who had not learned some basics about working through a problem on my own, I would still be locked away. Now I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that there may be some people who would think that would not be such a bad thing. But no doubt, you will do as your mother instructed you long ago: not every thought needs to be spoken.

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