by Mary Haynes
I hate locks; they're annoying. I wish everyone would just behave and keep out of other people's stuff, so nothing had to be secured. I'm convinced locks have taken years off my life., I’m tired of fumbling in my purse hunting for keys and searching all over the house for them. I don’t want to jump out of bed late at night to check to see if I locked the doors. It all disrupts the flow; it disturbs my chi. I've locked myself out of cars, out of hotel rooms several times, once while swimming in the hotel’s outdoor pool. I've even locked myself inside a room of an old house when the skeleton key broke off in the door.
I need a chip in my head or some sort of superpower to enable me to lock and unlock things at will. "Keyless woman, to the rescue!" I see myself wandering through shopping mall parking lots freeing small children and animals from locked cars, helping stressed-out people who have forgotten their combination briefcase locks, magically opening password-protected documents. I think I would be more beloved than Spiderman!
I was about to drive my son to school, and my partner had parked my van in the garage, which I hate because it's inconvenient. Not only is it a tight squeeze to open my van door, but my laundry room was in the garage. That meant that I couldn’t help but notice that the laundry in the washer needed to be put in the dryer; therefore, I had to deal with the stuff in the dryer and put it away in the house. During that time, I put my keys down somewhere, resulting in a frantic search. By the time that was all sorted out, my stress level was peaking, and my son was agitated.
In my rush, I did what I yell at my kids for doing and pushed the garage door button on the inside of the garage, ducking under the rapidly closing heavy garage door. I just managed to get my son to school before the bell rang. Ah, time to go home and find some Zen. I fantasized about taking a long soak with a good book.
I pulled into the driveway, parked the van, walked to the front door, and inserted my key. The key turned, but I could not budge the heavy front door. I was puzzled by this, I distinctly remembered unchaining the door before I left because I am not an idiot. However, my brain screamed at me, "You fool, you forgot to draw back the heavy deadbolt."
I pondered my options. The garage door was controlled by a remote that I don't have because, as previously mentioned, I hate parking in the garage. My partner had the remote and was out of town for the week. Breaking a window seemed a foolish choice because they had very fancy mutins. I couldn't fit through the slats without doing significant structural damage.
I gleefully remembered that the back door key was on my key chain. However, scaling the eight-foot concrete fence would be a challenge. I tried to jump and pull myself up like my kids do, but clearly, they were in better shape than me and my round bottom. I decided our plastic garbage can would work and moved it in front of the fence. I still had trouble getting up on it, so I borrowed some landscaping bricks from the neighbor’s garden and made a little staircase around the garbage can. This worked wonderfully. I had the leverage to pull myself up and hoist my leg over the fence. I was proud of myself! I had achieved a tremendous athletic feat. I felt like Yertle the Turtle, ruler of all I could see.
However, now I had another problem, I now had to get off the wall. This meant jumping onto the thin layer of St. Augustine grass covering the coral rock that passes for a lawn in Miami. I pondered this for about fifteen minutes. My imagination ran wild. What if I broke my ankle or smashed my head? My son would be stranded at school until his Dad came home in a few days, and I would succumb to mosquito and no-see-um bites and eventually be consumed by vultures. I stayed up there for another few minutes, sure that someone would end my misery by helping me. Maybe, they'd call the police to report a crazy woman, or perhaps they'd just shoot me; it was Miami, after all. Several lawn service trucks drove by, but no one seemed to notice or care about the woman on the wall.
I realized that had I chosen the other side of the wall there was a ladder I could have used to get down. I couldn't shimmy across because it was separated by a gate, so I carefully backed down on the garbage can and bricks and recreated the process on the other side.
For some spastic reason, I could not swing my leg up because the wall was closer to the house, and I didn't have the room. I hung there for a while till my arms started to shake. I had a glimmer of hope that I had never checked to see if the lock was on the gate. I climbed back down, checked the latch, finding it mockingly well fastened.
I came up with another brilliant plan and climbed up onto the garbage can again. I grabbed the ladder and pushed it carefully toward the iron gate. I then backed down and passed the ladder hand over hand to the other side. I carefully righted the ladder, making sure it didn't tip over. I rebuilt my staircase, hauled myself up, opened the ladder, and quickly climbed down.
I learned several things from this experience; I lived in a neighborhood where no one noticed or cared that I spent about an hour trying to break into a house. I also learned that I am somewhat cat-like. I have no real fear of climbing but a pronounced fear of descending.
I was just about to indulge myself in a soak in the hot tub with my book and a big glass of wine when my neighbor phoned and asked why I had taken her bricks. I threw on some clothes and went out to put the bricks back in her garden. I made sure to leave the front door wide open.
About the author
Mary Haynes splits her time between a romantic old sailboat in tropical waters and a beach home in Ontario. A wanderer, by fate, she embraces wherever she roams! Mary recently completed her first children’s book, “Who Ate My Peppers?”