I was thinking about writer’s block this morning. My friend, Cathlin, who just celebrated her 27th birthday received little note cards with whimsy patters meant to help with writer’s block. That got me to thinking about being stuck. Stuck in traffic. Stuck in the rain. Stuck in a hole like Winnie the Pooh. I’ve been stuck. Literally.
I’ve been trapped in a bathroom twice in my life. Yes, trapped. Stuck. Unable to get out.
The first time what when I was about three years old. I was in my grandparents’ home in San Diego, on a Christmas visit with my parents. I guess I had become accustomed to going potty by myself (I was a quick learner), and so I did. While most of the details are pretty foggy, given that that was about twenty years ago, my parents never let me forget the resounding chorus that I belted at the top of my lungs, “LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT!” I suppose it was a faulty door handle or a jammed lock. Clearly I did get out, but even though I was only three years old, the fear of being trapped in a bathroom for life, coursed through my veins.
The second time I was trapped in a bathroom was when I was studying abroad in France. I was a regular October day, and I was between classes. The first floor restrooms were all occupied so I ventured to the second floor. Score! It was vacant. So I went in and locked the door behind me. I went about my business and was ready to exit. Well, problem #1: the door was stuck. In fact, the lock was stuck. At first I thought, “Let me just jiggle the handle and the lock“. No such luck.
I looked around the slightly-larger-than-a-phonebooth bathroom and noticed that there was no window. There was no other espace. I considered banging on the door and yelling, but then I remembered that there was another door in the area where the sinks were. There was a layer of insulation. Great. Then, someone tried to open the door. I thought about yelling through the wood door, but then I wondered, what would I say? In French, no less. So I stayed silent and hoped the person would go away.
So there I was stuck in a bathroom in France. I realized problem #2: how was I going to get out? I remembered I had my cell phone on me. Yes! I tried calling some of my American friends, with whom I could relay the message that I was trapped in a bathroom. No luck. Everyone must have been in class. Then I remembered I had the phone number for the director’s office in my phone. Score! I formulated what I was going to say. I kept thinking and thinking about how to say “stuck“. It finally popped into my head “coince“, pronounced “qwin-say” (best I could conjure). I could have of course said “trapped” which would have been easier, but I tend to go the difficult route. I called Christine, the program coordinator, and explained my plight. She immediately jumped on the phone to explain to a handyman of where to find me and to let me out. She called me back to let me know. Within another 20 minutes, I was able to breathe fresh air again. I thanked the custodian profusely and thanked him for granting me my freedom.
After that, I have ALWAYS checked that bathroom doors/stalls/etc. unlocked easily before proceeding. So remember, proceed with caution.
So there’s a little story to spice up your Monday.
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