April 09, 2012

"Trapped Princess in the Tower"*

or: How I Spent the Day Locked on the Balcony

It was not my best day.  Certainly not my worst, but still, not very good.  The locks on our doors only have key holes on the outside.  The inside has L-shaped door knobs, and a twisting thing for the dead bolt and lock.  The one mechanism serves as both options.  When the switch is vertical, the door is completely unlocked and openable from both sides.  At horizontal, both the door knob will not turn and the dead bolt is thrown.  When you unlock it, by default it slides into a position between these two.  Here, the door knob will turn from the inside, and the dead bolt is open, but the door is still locked from the outside.  This is how our locks are most of the time we're home.

I've never really thought too much about the balcony door locking from the outside, even though I've accidentally locked myself out of the front door once before by forgetting to double check the funny lock. The lock on the balcony door for the most part just keeps the door closed for us, since it's pretty warped from all the times the ceiling has leaked over it.  Actually closing the door is usually difficult.  We've lived here nearly 2 years now, and never once have I had to worry about the status of my balcony door lock.

I went out on the balcony today to check on my plants as usual.  Felix joined me.  I was in pajamas, no shoes or socks, just a thin pair of flip flops to keep the rust off my feet.  We must have been out there for 2 minutes when a gust of wind from the open bedroom window slammed the door shut.  With it half locked.

It was some time between 2:45 and 3.  It was windy, and a little on the chilly side for no socks and short sleeves.  The balcony floor is metal.  DS wasn't due to come home from work until 6:30, and both my phone and keys were in the house still.  Felix and I reluctantly settled in for a long wait.

There were two things regarding this experience for which I was grateful:  It wasn't raining, and there's a shower curtain folded up on the balcony for emergency plant protection.  That shower curtain was my only protection from the wind, and I did my best to curl up in it so I would freeze.  The plastic kept Felix from wanting to curl up with me, which is too bad, because I was still fairly cold even with the wind protection.  She also was very offended that I was not letting her back in the house, and she spent the 3.5 hours I was stuck out there crying.

I attempted to sleep some, but mostly only managed a sort of meditative state to pass the time.  I also spent a lot of time watching the clouds, which wasn't so bad, and watching people either walk their dogs or walk/run past.  I couldn't see any clocks from where I was, so I tried to judge the passage of time by the way traffic changed and how many cars were parking, or how many people were in the easement next to the interstate playing with their dogs.

Felix and I were both very relieved when DS came home and freed us.  We were hungry and cold and in need of bathrooms.  The rest of the evening has been spent huddled in blankets and vegging on the couch.  For both of us.  Perhaps it's not so unusual for her, being a cat and all.

So note to self:  Always fully unlock the balcony door before going out there, just to be safe.

*My special thanks to Monkey for putting my day into words that gave it a sense of whimsy.  It somehow made it better.

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