11:00 a.m. today
I stuff my clothes into my laundry bag, grab a set of quarters, snag detergent, slip on flip flops and I’m out the door. I drag my bag down the hallway, downstairs and outside to where the laundry room is in my apartment complex. As soon as I look at the laundry door, I realize I’ve locked myself out.
Re-enact photo to the right.
I’m a habitual key forgetter. I lock myself out enough to know that it will happen again but I just never know when. I’ve locked myself out at least 5 times while doing laundry. There was the time I waited outside in windy weather in a t-shirt waiting for my roomie to come home with no cell phone on me (luckily, that was about 30 mins). Then there was the time that I locked myself out and missed a party (a friend down the street housed me til my roomie returned). Then there was the time that I had my phone and wallet, so I called my roommate and BARTed to her work place and picked up the keys. Once I lucked out and my landlord was still in his apartment so he let me back in. Then there was the last time, when I spent 3 hours hanging out in the hallway (no phone, no wallet, but at least I was inside and warm).
Come to think of it, those are only laundry related lock outs. My mind begins to think of other lockouts outside of this home. There were the times I locked myself out in New York and had to break back into my apartment by crawling in through a window. Another time I left my keys in the car at Google (Shannon rescued me with her AAA membership). Then there was the day when I locked Nam and I out of our car on a road trip, at a gas station in Ohio. We were rescued by this friendly copper (left).
Clearly, I have a key problem.
The good news is, the time I vegged in the hallway for 3 hours, I finally devised a plan to put keys somewhere easy to access for my next lock out. And that beautiful day of pay off has come. Yesss.
I leave the apartment complex by going through the garage door. I look for the key where it’s supposed to be but it’s NOT THERE!! Crap! Run back in under the garage door before it closes.
Roommate used key last and said she put it back. But it’s NOT THERE!! Maybe building management found it. Bastards!
I have $3 in quarters on me, a short sleeve tee (yes, and pants), no phone. I’m a bit chilly so I go into my laundry bag and throw on a hoodie. I contemplate my options:
- Go to local cafe and order a raspberry tea to warm up. Owner knows my face well enough that he’d probably lend me a phone and feed me with promise of future payment. I could kill time there til roomie gets home. Leaving laundry by laundry room risks possible theft (which would really not be good given that I need those clothes for my flight tomorrow). Visualize dragging laundry all around neighborhood, also seems impractical. Visualize layering on the clothes I really don’t want stolen, humorous but impractical. Ok, next idea.
- Use quarters to find pay phone (Do pay phones exist anymore?) to call roomie to see if I can convince her to come back during lunch time. This minimizes away time from laundry. Shit, do I remember her number? Oh, wait, I think I do! Yes!
- Leave laundry in back, wait outside in front of apartment doors for postman to deliver mail, which will allow me back inside and back into the apartment.
- Stay in garage, wait for neighbor to come home through the garage and risk appearing awkwardly creepy as I explain to them my situation.
- Maybe roomie just put key elsewhere, but will have to time search so it’s short enough that if it’s not there, then I can duck back into the garage.
In between contemplating these options, my brain flits to things I need to get done today. Then my brain flits back to being more productive and solutions oriented. Luckily, I’m more amused than annoyed.
Open garage door, sneak out and look around for key. Aha! Here it is! Close to where it was last left. Sneak back into garage before door closes down.
Back in apartment, get keys, put rescue set of keys back where they belong in preparation for next time.
Pick up a call from a friend about another potential writing gig.
Here’s my gratitude list and lessons learned from this unforeseen excursion:
- Even when you’re not prepared, you really are. I forgot my keys, but here’s what I did remember:
- I’m good with remembering numbers so I was reassured that I could’ve called my roommate if I had to.
- I’m a creative problems solver. I’ve been appreciating frustrating moments more because I’ve associated frustration as an opportunity to exercise my creativity. In this case, came up with some viable alternative solutions and managed to entertain myself while doing so.
- I’m good with pattern recognition (ok, sometimes it takes a while). Realizing how forgetful I am with keys last time around, allowed me to plan ahead, plant spares in preparation for today’s little incident.
- That regardless of how long this takes, this could be funny fodder for my blog.
Time to get my laundry from the dryer. Wish me luck!