I locked myself out the house recently. My sister was away, there are no spare house keys, so it was only a matter of time before I did the deed. With my penchant for…mishaps, it’s a wonder it didn’t happen long ago.
I admit it wasn’t easy. I keep my house key in my jacket pocket at all times. I never put it on the counter, in my purse, or hang it up on a nail somewhere. When I leave the house, I obsessively and compulsively check and double check my jacket pocket to make sure before I shut the door that my key is with me.
So, how did this happen, you ask. Or not. I’ve decided to blame it on Max, the mixed-up Maltese. Let me explain…
I was puttering around the house, cleaning out little pockets of clutter. I took advantage of my sister being gone to do that sort of thing. (I had to wait till she was gone because what I call clutter, she calls keepsake. Trust me, it’s clutter!) At any rate, along the way, I found a key. It looked like it might be a house key, in fact, so I went upstairs to try it in the front door lock. I opened the door, then locked it from inside and tried the key. It didn’t work. I tossed the useless key away. Then Max, my crazy, mixed-up Maltese, took advantage of the front door being open and skittered outside. “I’ll just go outside, too,” I thought to myself. “It’s such a lovely day, and the freshly mowed lawn looks awfully good, if I do say so myself. Tra la tra la…” And I followed my dog out, automatically shutting the door behind me as I always do so the bugs can’t fly inside when I’m not home.
The magnitude of what just happened didn’t hit me until the dog and I had finished our stroll around the garden. “It’s almost time to cut down the frost bitten foliage,” I thought, as I stood on the porch, my hand on the doorknob. The shock hit me, the kind you only feel when you lock yourself out of the house. What I had feared had come upon me!
Like a steel trap, my mind closed shut. What was I to do? Ever paranoid about intruders, I always kept all windows and other means of access locked up tight. My cell phone was in my purse, both tucked safely away inside this house I could not breach. I jiggled the doorknob, as if it would sense my extremity and take pity on me, magically opening. Of course, it didn’t. I went up the stairs to the back door on the porch, also with a locked screen door. The screen door fell open under my forceful yank, and I was closer to my goal. But I may as well have been at the far end of forever because this back door was locked, too. I looked for an object with which to pick the lock. Something straight, thin, and long. As luck would have it, our porch contains the overflow clutter from the house, which I hadn’t dealt with yet, and a table sat right next to the door with a drawer containing all sorts of potential lock pickers. A long bobby pin, a large paper clip. These two objects seemed to look most like I’d seen on TV. As I worked at the lock in vain, I considered the alternative; kick the door in. I weighed that option. My sister would surely notice that our back door was broken when she returned and demand an explanation. So, if at all possible, that was not the way to go.
For half an hour, I worked at the lock. Max sat beside me, his head cocked to one side. I could practically see the wheels in his wee little brain turning slightly. Why is it taking so long for Mummy to open the door and let me in? This has never happened before. Oh, wait, it has. I always have to scratch a lot before she opens the door. Only she hasn’t been outside here with me before. Oh dear, I’m very confused!
I thought of the RCMP, right across the street. What if I went over there, explained that I was locked out of my house, and asked them to get me in somehow! I had no I.D. on my person. Would they buy it? Nobody there knew who I was. I wished I had baked them cookies at Christmas right then, but too late now.
I thought of a locksmith. I had no cell phone on me. Then I thought of the next door neighbors. I could go there and ask to use their phone. They might even still have the key to our house that we had given them a long time ago when we’d gone away, although I had a suspicion they had given it back as soon as we returned. On the slim chance they still might have it, I gave up trying to pick the porch door lock, and walked over to their house. Turns out they didn’t have our key, but did find about a dozen keys, that might or might not be the whole block’s missing keys. None fit the door, but my neighbor, ever handy, managed to pick our front door lock in about 20 seconds with the bobby pin I gave him.
Just like that, Max and I were back inside and our adventure was over. He took a long drink of water and hurried to his bed for a long overdue nap, and I made myself a cup of tea and stopped de-cluttering.