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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Locked Out

 My husband, my kids, and I headed out the front door this morning. They were heading to the zoo. I was heading for the recycle bin. In my pajamas and slippers. I turned around, headed back up  the porch stairs, turned the door handle and . . . the door was locked.

Has this ever happened to you?  Locked out of your own house? I started to call out to them, but they were speeding away. 

Did I really want them to come back? (It's always such a feat just getting them all out the door.)

I remembered the key I'd hidden, but I was almost certain it wasn't there anymore. I was right. 

So I knock on a neighbor's door and start calling friends with spare keys.

But it's Sunday morning, so I'm leaving messages.

I tell my neighbor Mike, whose phone I just borrowed, that I'm going to work in the garden; his wife kindly offers me some shoes. 

I'm out in the yard pulling up soggy tomato plants. I'm wondering to myself "Am I eccentric? Does this qualify as eccentric behavior?" when I see Mike coming towards me with a big smile: "Your friend said she's in her pajamas and doesn't feel like driving over. She wants you to walk over and get your key." Normally this wouldn't be a problem, except I'm wet and dirty, and I'm in a NIGHT GOWN. 

And then I remember another detail: I was poaching a piece of chicken when I got locked out.

I tear across the street yelling "Mike! Mike! I need your phone again!" 

When I tell my key-bearing friend my predicament, she comes right over with the coveted key. I open the door to find my downstairs full of smoke, the chicken smoldering in the iron skillet. 

I'm not big on this kind of drama and near-catastrophe on a Sunday morning. My style is more a cowboy coffee cake, cup o decaf, Johnny Horn preachin' the blues situation. 

But there's something about being locked out, being forced to depend on neighbors and friends (and to work in the garden), that's almost baptismal. Okay, maybe that was the rain, but as I yanked out plants by the roots, watching worms come belly up from the rich, dark soil, I felt lucky to have been forced out into the wet morning to look a little closer at this glistening world. 

8 comments:

~ said...

Great story. (Do I know this friend with the key?) ;-) Glad you got to your chicken or you may have had a visit from my husband.

Martha Silano said...

Do you know my friend with the key? You may have met her once.

Yes, a visit from your husband--not exactly my idea of a mellow Sunday morning.

Peter said...

What a story! Life is a found poem for sure sometimes.

seanag said...

Reading this makes me wonder why there aren't more 'locked out' dreams, which is surely some kind of modern day metaphor.

I hope a poem will come out of this, or be part of something else. It seems a clear gift to you.

I do have to say that when you mentioned that you were poaching a piece of chicken, a more criminal interpretation sprang to mind. For awhile there, I thought you meant that you couldn't call on the friend because you'd stolen some chicken from her! It surprised me, but I always like honest appraisal of one's little character flaws.

Anyway, glad you got back in and got some material to ponder in the bargain.

shadowsinthemoonlight said...

Terrific story. Your writing style is engaging. I can easily envision you.

As for "eccentric", well, I've been called "festive" by my daughter's friend and I was not dressed up for a holiday or event. (Others might say theatrical, quirky...but I do prefer artsy. I'm an artist.) So, I've been outside in my pj's photographing many's a time.

Am still smiling and so glad no damage to your home! (Found you via a search for poetry.)
-gel

Joannie said...

My first day of full-time motherhood:

Back when my kids were really little, I managed to wander out onto the back deck, with both children and no portable phone (pretty much still a novelty then) and close the door that automatically locked.

It was late morning. Please don't ask me what I fed them for lunch (or did they have it?). We hung out in the back yard for hours, I tried to convice them to lie down and nap, or rest, and then a police woman came by (I'd been hit by a car that morning while I was on my way with my daughter to check out a possible day care center). The kids sat in my car while I gave my report in the patrol car. They fed pennies into my tape player, and I think they became engaged with a blue Sharpie pen.

Finally, I found a neighbor up the street who was home and borrowed his phone to call someone who had a key. Was it my mom? Was it my (now) husband? I don't remember. But I do remember all those hours.

Martha Silano said...

Thanks for your responses, everyone. Seanag: It does surprise me that more of us don't have repeating nightmares about being locked out. Gil: Thanks for your kind words; I'm glad you found me! Keep taking photos outside in your PJs. Joannie: this reminds me of when I used to get locked out as a child--I'd make up all sorts of adventures (why am I always locked out when it's cold and rainy?-like "fishing" for leaves in puddles, for making a mud batter for what I'd caught, and frying them up in the same puddle.

Maggie May said...

i hear you! my car wouldn't start in the pouring rain this morning at the Starbucks parking lot and i had to have a guy jump my car