“How did you lock yourself out of your house?” You ask your friend as if they’re the dumbest person on the planet. All you have to do is keep your keys on you at all times or don’t lock the door if you don’t have your keys. It’s that simple. Grownups shouldn’t lock themselves out of their apartments or houses.
You think it will never happen to you (or happen again). Then you switch your key rings, pick up the wrong set of keys, shut the front door behind you, go to lock the deadbolt, and suddenly realize you don’t have your house keys. You check to see if the door behind you definitely shut. It did.
If you switch you with me then you know exactly what I just went through three hours before my scheduled flight to New York. I had no cell phone, no money, and definitely no house keys on me. I only had my car key, a LA Fitness key tag, and the outfit I was wearing – paint splattered blue shorts, yesterday’s white T-shirt, and muddy sneakers.
My minded started racing.
1. F*CK! How did this happen? I knew how it happened, but was furious for creating this situation I put myself in. Then I grunted all of the four-letter words in my arsenal that you’re not allowed to say on the radio. The timing couldn’t have been worse. I had a flight to catch and no way to get back into my apartment.
2. What Do I Do Now? I didn’t know. I wanted to smash a window, cry, hug someone, be hugged by someone, and most of all, I just wanted to get back into my apartment. I visualized scenarios in which I was Tom Hanks stranded on an island hanging out with Wilson all day. I saw my future and it looked and sounded like: “WILSON!”
3. I’m Going To Break Down This Goddamn Door! With anger, comes rage. I thought of President Ronald Reagan’s speech in regard to the Berlin Wall, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” and attempted to knock down my door. I rammed my shoulder into the door once, twice, three times – and the third time was most definitely not the charm. Now I was locked out of my house and had an aching shoulder.
4. I’m Going To Figure This Out. I took a deep breath, tried to stop my mind from racing, and searched for ways to enter my home. Any open windows? Nope. Coat hangers around so I can try and jimmy the door loose? Nope. Who am I kidding anyway? I’m no MacGyver and will probably end up getting arrested. I may have looked like a criminal, but certainly lacked the ability to break into my own home. The only positive takeaway from this was that I felt safer now. I guess it’s not that easy to break in.
5. Let Me Find Someone To Help. Oh, my next-door neighbors have our spare key! That would’ve been perfect, except they just moved last week. Seamus has my other key! That would’ve been helpful had Seamus not just flown to Barcelona on Monday. I’ll ask one of my neighbors if I can use their phone to call the landlord since he lives nearby and must have an extra key. I checked the other four apartments in my building and no one was home. The sound grew louder, “WILSON! WILSON!”
6. All I Need To Do Is Track Down A Phone Or A Computer. Then I looked at my key ring. I did still have a car key and access to LA Fitness. It kind of looked as if I was going to the gym anyway. So, I drove to LA Fitness and hoped that the cool guy, Nick, at the front desk would be able to bail me out. Instead the pretty Philadelphia Flyers fan, the person who I insulted a mere two days earlier for being a Flyers fan, was working the check-in desk. “I’m actually not working out today,” I said when she picked up the barcode scanner. She looked at me as if to say, then when are you doing here? “I locked myself out of my apartment,” I said. “Any chance I can use the phone or a computer?”
7. What’s My Roommate’s Number? (818) 0-Crap. I had no idea what my roommate’s number is since I just find the contact in my phone and call him. “He works for a nearby company,” I said. “Can you look it up?” The computers in the gym didn’t allow Internet access, but she let me use her cell phone. I was able to track down my roommate’s company and called the main number. “Hi,” I said. “Can I please speak with George?”
8. Phew. Luckily, my roommate was at work and not in the middle of an important meeting. “It’s your roommate,” I said when George picked up. “What’s going on buddy?” he asked. It was the first time I ever called his work number. “I locked myself out the apartment. Any chance I can pick up the house key at your office or you can let me in?” “Yeah, I’ll come right now,” he said.
9. That could’ve been really, really bad. I sat in my car and waited for my roommate to save the day. I saw his car turn down our street and a sense of calm came over me. I knew I dodged a bullet. “What happened?” he asked. “I switched key rings so I could leave you my car key while I’m gone,” I said. “Then I picked up the wrong set and left the house without realizing. I was scared I was going to miss my flight. Thanks for coming to the rescue.” “You’re welcome. Luckily, everything is fine now and you should still be able to make your flight.”
10. Maybe I should leave a spare house key in my car from now on. “That’s probably not the best idea,” my roommate said when I made that suggestion. “Your registration has our home address on it. If someone broke into your car, found the key and the registration, we’d have a big problem.” Good point.
11. Thank You, Universe! As annoyed as I was by the situation, I also felt very thankful that a Flyers fan helped an Islanders fan, my roommate left work and did me a huge solid, and I was able to get back into my apartment in under an hour. I still had enough time to make it to LAX for my flight to New York.
Sitting at Gate 36 waiting to board, I realized that sometimes you just have to count your blessings, even if you’re the one that creates the disasters in the first place.