That time I locked myself out on Thanksgiving
This is just a story that I need recorded.
On Thanksgiving morning, I ducked into the garage for a quick second to dump trash. When I turned around to return to freshly poured iced coffee and make a bowl of oatmeal, I was staring at a locked door.
Panic, the type that makes your face flush white hot for a second, washed over me. The front door is always locked because I don’t really use it. I hadn’t had a chance to use any of the doors except the one to the garage in my whole 4 days of staying there. The back doors are always locked. The windows are the type that don’t open from the outside. Conclusion? I. was. fucked.
I looked down at myself. I was in a pair of old, bright orange Illinois sweatpants and a strappy tank top. Unbrushed hair was tucked into a ponytail and I was barefoot. And worst of all, the most mortifying thing ever for a well-endowed lady, I was braless.
I thought of all the ways I could undo the lock. There were no screws or fasteners in sight. Could I melt it with a lighter? Beat it open with a hammer? If I had a hair pin, maybe I would try to pick it, but I’m no seasoned criminal. My phone was locked inside. Eventually I concluded that I needed external help.
I had a hamper of dirty clothes on top of the dryer and found a large t shirt to cover my unstrapped regions. I stepped outside and noticed the unusually thick Florida November heat as I tried to decide whose door to knock on. Eventually a man walked by on his morning stroll. I explained the predicament. He offered me his flip phone, but I didn’t know the number of my friend who has a spare key off hand. Dennis is in his 80’s. He’s the type who says he just wants his phone to make calls, that’s it. I always end up really liking these kind of people, but at that moment I cursed Steve Jobs for not making iPhones a little more appealing to the older crowd.
I’m certain of how ridiculous I sounded when I said I didn’t know how to access help without Facebook. Still, I didn’t want to call a locksmith, so I asked if I could use his computer. He gracefully said yes and took me to his house.
His wife was busy making the holiday feast and the house was arranged for guests to arrive. I walked in, bare feet and all, and timidly introduced myself as the neighbor girl who doesn’t understand how doors work. His wife joked about how it wasn’t the best day for me to get locked out. Ha, ha, nope.
On the way back to meet friend with a spare key at the house, my new friend Dennis asked me what brought me to Bradenton. I always tell the truth.
“My job,” I said.
“Oh, where do you work?” Dennis asked.
“I report for the Bradenton Herald,” I always say calmly, cautiously. I never know how people will react to discovering they’ve been talking with “the media.”
(I don’t really consider myself a part of “the media,” but most people would, I know. I stay away from the label because of its, at times and all too often, negative connotations)
He talked to me about what he likes about the Bradenton Herald and, more pointedly, what he doesn’t like. I nodded and listened. He and his wife subscribe. I saw the paper sitting on the lanai table when I was on my way out.
I’ll end on this: I’m grateful an unexpected, seemingly unfortunate and now rather comedic event brought me closer to who I write for. It reminded me that no matter the rantings of Facebook trolls and the continuing, unrelenting criticism of journalists who follow even the most stringent ethics policies, people do still care about what we do.