Tuesday, April 26, 2005

the keys to your restroom

I have recently relocated to South Carolina, land of yellow barbeque sauce. Needing to stow some of my gear I have rented a storage building. It is disquieting to realize that it takes so much gear for me to exist. At the same time, I am pleased. It's less than I thought it would be.

While renting the storage, the call of nature struck. I excused myself to the exterior boy's room and locked the door. There is a sort of common ritual to using a public restroom that is familar yet strange. The deadbolt goes this way. The sink handles work that way. As I turned the deadbolt I twisted the doorknob and pulled. Perhaps I didn't get the deadbolt out of the way entirely for the door doesn't open. Pull again. It won't budge. I notice that the fan is very loud and there is only one switch for bot the fan and the light. Perhaps I didn't actually lock the deadbolt when I came in and locked it when trying to leave. Actuate the deadbolt, pull. No. Still locked. Turn the deadbolt back. Perhaps I didn't turn the handle far enough to the right. I give it a little oomph and it is still locked. I noticed that the handle did turn a little further than the first time so I try it again. Harder. The knob spins all the way around.

At this point I shake the door and hope that I'll jar something loose. The Storage facility is rightly concerned with security. The door has no interior hinges. When the lady comes to see what the door shaking is about, I find that it has no exterior hinges either. I was worried about her thinking I had dodged out and locked up going home leaving me the cool solitude of the restroom for the evening. Because of the loud fan I must turn the lights off to converse. She asks what's wrong and I explain. I laugh thinking how odd it is to be talking to a complete stranger while stuck inside an unfamiliar restroom. My laughing seemed to unnerve her. You could hear the panic rise in her voice when she says, "I'm going to call the manager." I start working with my little Gerber knife I bought back in 1988. The screw closest to the hinges comes out pretty easy and I start to work on the screw next to the jamb. The knife must be held vertically oriented with the screw and I don't have much torque. After five minutes or so I get the other screw out and the knob falls in my hand as does a small cracked piece of plastic. The latch retracts and I am on my way again. I take the doorknob to the attendant. Funny how, after being confined for even a few minutes, freedom feels...

1 comment:

  1. such are the pratfalls experienced while being a stranger in a strange land. miss ya already. keep us filled in. i'm serious.