Yesterday, I locked myself out of my room.
Actually, it would be truer to say that my room locked myself out of it. I wandered through to the kitchen (presumably to make a cup of tea, you know me), wandered back towards my room (probably to retrieve a mug), twisted the door-handle and …clunk. No Entry.
It would be a lie to say that this is the most terrifying thing that could have happened. Velociraptors coming through the windows would have been scarier. So, in a different kind of way, would thousands of miniature people shaped like Richard Branson spilling out of the refrigerator and singing the Spanish national anthem. Other things which are scarier than door handles going clunk include mutant alligators, Pierluigi Collina, the dead coming to life, Michael Howard, Michael Howard coming to life, and all forms of nuclear holocaust.
Nonetheless, it was briefly chilling. Everything I have was in the room. Not “everything I’ll have in the world”, you’ll note, because that would be technically untrue. But everything I possess which isn’t nine time zones away was suddenly inaccessible. I had my phone in my pocket, and apart from that, nothing except for the clothes I stood up in — a t-shirt and some tracksuit shorts. I didn’t even have socks on. There was no way I could even leave the house; not only were my keys in my room, my shoes were as well. Everything which is important to my day-to-day existence was. Keys. Laptop. Passport. Wallet, complete with bank cards and student card. Flight details. Stuffed mammoth called Ray Romano. Plectrum. And now all of these were under lock and key …no, wait. Make that under lock.
The thing with my room, you see, is that it really isn’t supposed to lock. It’s got this sort of semi-lock thing where you push a button on the door handle to lock it when you’re inside, and though there is a keyhole on the outside, I’d never been given a key for this. It thus ought to be impossible to lock without actually being inside…which I wasn’t. That was the problem.
I still don’t know how my door became locked. I may have idly fiddled with the locking-button on the inside when exiting, and the door shut while in the ‘lock’ position…or something. Whatever the reason, I was very much locked out.
I checked the window; no hope whatsoever. My room as a whole is weirdly impregnable. The window has bars — a thick latticework of metal diamonds. Within these is wire bug netting, so there wasn’t even a chance of, I don’t know, flying a remote-control plane through the window to twist the doorknob. Furthermore, the window is held on by some sort of machine-tooled rivets, not nice removable screws. The only other way in is the door. I spent about an hour kneeling outside my bedroom door with a hairpin* and a bit of wire from a plastic clothes-peg, trying to figure out how to pick locks. Turns out it’s difficult.
I didn’t manage it. Actually, the ending of the story is a bit tame. One of my housemates, Garrett, finally arrived home, and explained that this happens occasionally. The thing to do, apparently, is to slide a knife inside the doorframe and whack it with a hammer until it bludgeons the door-snib aside. So I wriggled a breadknife into position inside the frame, and gave it a mighty thwock. After a few more of these, something gave, and the door swung gently open.
Simultaneously, the fire alarm fell off the ceiling.
*the hairpin is somewhat bizarre. Why, in a flat occupied by four guys, was one of those little wire hair-thingies sitting in a kitchen drawer? It was weirdly perfect to the situation, like finding items in a point-and-click computer game. Open Drawer, Pick Up Hairpin, Open Door with Hairpin, Despair, Bludgeon Door with Breadknife…
Point of interest: I noticed, scrolling down the R-to-R page the other day, that my entries, which seem pretty small and compact on my word processor screen, are bloody massive when turned into single-column blog. I thought I’d try to keep this a bit shorter and snappier …is this a good idea? Or do y’all actually enjoy my massive rambles?