6.22.2009

Saturday Morning Adventure

I started Saturday morning by locking myself out of the house. With no shoes. In my pjs. With the dog.

I had some birthday cards to put in the mailbox, so I didn't think it was a big deal to run out "real quick" in my pjs. The dog is all about being on our front porch lately, so I let him out while I ran to the street and shut the door behind us. As I made my way to the mailbox I realized how it was awfully warm out for 8:30 AM. When I got back to the front door I was less then enthused when it didn't open. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

At the risk of painting too graphic a picture, in the summer I wear a tank top and shorts to bed - nothing else... So, I wasn't in the most appropriate attire to start walking around knocking on doors. And did I mention it was 8:30 in the morning? I felt like it wasn't neighborly to visit anyone that early on a Saturday morning. The sun was already beating down and the temperature was 80+ degrees and rising quickly. My lack of sunscreen meant that in a very short time I was going to start frying. Spike could tell we were in trouble and he began to lose it. He just stood on the porch cowering and shaking. Our dog is a real wuss. When I left him there briefly to see if the back door was open, he made his one contribution to our stressful situation. He took a crap in the middle of the welcome mat. Thanks, buddy.

By this point I was in full on panic mode. We have a few friends in the neighborhood but most of them are at the beach this week. I've mentioned our neighbor's fortress - impenetrable - and Brian was on his way to Denver, not that I could call him anyway, since my phone was inside behind the locked door. I felt completely isolated with no idea where to get help. PANIC. In a moment of idiocy I threw a rock at a back window hoping to break into the laundry room. When the rock literally bounced off the glass, I reached the end of my rope. I picked up the dog and reluctantly started off to knock on doors.

Thankfully, I didn't have to walk too far before I found a neighbor mowing his lawn. Bob is new to the 'hood. I hadn't met him yet. I'm sure he found it a bit bizarre to have a scantily clad, bare footed stranger carrying a Maltese walk up to him at 8:30 in the morning. He offered to take a look and see if he could get into the house any way. Let me interject a cultural observation here - Bob chose this moment to begin small talk about different houses for sale in the neighborhood and to discuss the list price of the empty house next to ours. Needless to say when I am sweating profusely, half naked in a panic and attempting to calm a spastic dog I'm not in the mood for small talk. However, this was just another example that below the Mason Dixon line it is ALWAYS time for small talk.

Anyway, Bob couldn't find a way in (good news for the security of our house! bad news for locked out residents!). I tried not to be insulted when he attempted to simply open the front door. Because really, as crazed as I looked at that point, it was probably feasible for him to think I was loony enough to have not tried opening the front door. I asked to use his cell phone to call the police. The 911 operator explained that the only option was to "forcibly break the door in" if a unit was dispatched. That option didn't sound ideal, but my brain just kept screaming "get inside however possible - the sun/heat is getting more intense."

It was at this point that our neighbor came outside to offer a pretty intelligent and very helpful suggestion from behind his bamboo fence. He thought I could either call a lock smith (honestly, why hadn't I thought of that??) or allow him to use his "lock picking kit" to open the front door. Seriously. He owns a lock picking kit - with every interaction these people scare me more and more. I asked him if he would try because it seemed like the quickest and most inexpensive option - though not necessarily the least creepy. He agreed and disappeared into his fortress. He reappeared several minutes later, but not before Bob tried the front door again. Bob realized that just the bottom lock was activated and that he too may have a tool that could help. So Bob ran off to get his own "lock picking kit". By the time our neighbor had unpacked his entire kit, Bob had returned with a credit card, popped open the door and went back to his lawn mowing. I've never been so happy to see our living room. Dodging round two of inappropriately timed small talk, this time with our neighbor (what is it down here???), I thanked him and quickly headed inside and out of the heat.

I was so relieved to be able to put my dog down that it didn't occur to me that my house had just been broken into VERY easily. As the air conditioning and comfort of my home returned me to my senses I realized how thankful I am for our deadbolt and the security system. Without them we'd be sitting ducks. First order of business this week, hide a key outside. Second order of business, try to block out the knowledge that our neighbors have an arsenal of tools and the know-how to open locked doors.

1 comment:

Ms. Myers said...

Wow. That is a wild 'n' crazy story o' the Southland. I'm glad you got into your place fairly quickly and easily. But, yeah, I totally understand how that is also quite disconcerting. (Theme from "Deliverance" kicks in...or perhaps the "Dukes of Hazzard" theme?)

I too, know the panic of being locked out in a strange place...and for some reason, I'm gonna go ahead and tell you my story! I was staying at my friends' condo in Beverly, MA (they were out of town, but awesome enough to let me stay) and I closed the door behind me, thinking it was unlocked. But it was one of those awful sketchy knobs that turns on the outside whether it's locked or not, and it tricked me into thinking it was unlocked. Of course, after I closed the door, I remembered the tricky knobs, realized my error, and thought, "Aw, man, what am I gonna do?!"

So, there I was, no keys to my rental car, no cell phone, no nothin'. The upstairs neighbors were not home, which increased my panic. I eventually went to the back and used some metal construction horses that happened to be under the balcony to climb onto the balcony (they're on the first floor, so it wasn't too scary), then thanked the heavens that I had left the rear window open.

I was very happy that I didn't have to rely on neighbors. I knew from past visits that the neighbors around those parts were perfectly normal, but I still didn't want to run around pressing buzzers and weirding people out.

Anyway, that's all to say that I can sympathize with that situation! Though yours was entirely more adventurous that mine (in ways you certainly would have preferred to avoid).