I know you all think I’m pretty awesome and infallible by now (just play along, here) but contrary to what Nutty Hubby insists on telling everyone, I’m not perfect.
Yeah, I have trouble believing it too.
But just like Superman – and I’m not saying I’m Superman, but it’s true that Superman and I have never been seen in the same room at the same time, so make what you will of that – I have a weakness that can be exploited.
Are you ready? Are you prepared to learn the closely guarded secret scheme that is guaranteed to foil The Nut every time? It’s pretty easy, there’s only one step to follow.
- Step 1: Own a bathroom.
That’s it. I told you it was easy.
Bathrooms are my Kryptonite. To be more specific, bathroom doors. They don’t like me. The moment I pass into the Land of the Loo they begin plotting my downfall. It’s like when I flip the switch to turn on the light, I’m also turning on a generator that supplies a steady stream of pure, concentrated evil to every doorknob, lock, hinge and latch in the immediate vicinity.
I have picked my fair share of bathroom locks. I have crawled under more than my fair share of stall doors. I have played tug of war with many a doorknob. Just this morning the latch on the downstairs washroom at my work practically glued itself in the locked position, to the extent that I began seriously considering using the toilet tank cover to try and hammer it open.
Eventually I can usually make an attractive enough plea bargain with the toilet gods to win my freedom. There has only ever been one occasion where I was completely unable to escape on my own, and naturally it had to occur in one of the most public settings ever: a wedding.
My cousin and her now-husband were getting married in Oregon. I think I was about 13 at the time, and this was my first invitation to a wedding. My parents thought it would be fun to make a road trip out of it, so we drove down in our tin can of an Airstream RV, taking the route along the insanely picturesque Oregon coast.
The wedding venue was lovely as well, a classic looking building situated on a hill, with a sprawling lawn and a killer view. Unfortunately, in this case “classic” also stood for “kinda old”. The building was full of character, yes, but parts of it were certainly showing their age. And as with any structure that sees plenty of event-related traffic, sooner or later some of the more finicky fixtures were going to need a tune-up.
Like the lock on the bathroom door.
As the venue was basically just a large house that had been converted into a reception space, there was only one bathroom on the main floor, and its lock was on its last legs. I guess the staff thought posting a sign on the door about the defective lock would have looked tacky, or maybe they were just too used to stupid people who think that reading signs is somehow beneath them, so instead they personally made the rounds letting the guests know that, should they need to use the facilities, they would be well-advised not to shut the door all the way.
Can we just take a minute to savor the implications of this suggestion? “Oh hey, you probably don’t even have an open-door pooping policy in your own home, let alone in public, but please, at this event that is 95% people you don’t really know all that well, be so good as to refrain from securing the door while you drop trou and sit there completely vulnerable on the can, knowing anyone could just walk in at any moment.”
You have to kind of admire the giant brass balls it takes to act like a complete lack of privacy while peeing is no biggie at a large, formal event.
Anyway, somehow, during the execution of the staff’s totally foolproof Verbal Toilet Warning Plan, I was overlooked.
And I was sucking down approximately my 43rd Shirley Temple when I realized that I really, really needed to pee.
The washroom was free, so in I darted quick as a hummingbird. And of course, due to my complete ignorance of the Verbal Toilet Warning Plan, I did what anyone would usually do upon entering a single toilet public bathroom: I firmly shut the door and locked it.
I took care of business, washed my hands, smoothed out my hair, and went to unlock the door.
There was a slight crunching sound, not unlike that created by someone grinding their shoe into a pile of broken glass. This sound is generally not a quality you look for in a lock.
Slightly concerned, I tried the doorknob.
More crunching. I broke into a mild sweat.
I began going through my repertoire of stubborn doorknob tricks. The Twist and Wrench. The Jiggle. The Press ‘n Turn. The Shake Weight.
The door did not open. It did, however, produce enough crunching noises to make a potato chip ad feel inadequate.
It was at this point that I realized I was going to need to call for help. I was shy as hell, but I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life trapped in a bathroom just because talking to people was scary. I was just psyching myself up to start banging on the door and yelling when there was a knock and I heard my mother’s muffled voice asking if I was in there.
Hallelujah. As I sheepishly replied that yes, I was in there, and gave a quick description of the nature of my imprisonment, I praised sweet, sweet Jeebus that I was being given the luxury of explaining the situation to my mother and not some random stranger.
“But why did you close the door?” she asked. “Didn’t anyone tell you about the broken lock?”
I released a quiet stream of profanity under my breath.
“No, no they did not.”
“Hmph. I told them they should put up a sign or something. Okay, I’ll go get help.”
I paced the room for what seemed like ages while various people came to the door, asked me questions, and fiddled with the knob from the outside. Eventually, tired of standing, I put down the toilet lid and glumly took a seat.
I was still there, hunched over and thinking murderous thoughts, when there was a sudden rapping at the window beside me. Startled, I whipped my head around to see a man peering through the glass. I hurried over to undo the catch and open the window.
“Hiya,” said the man, grinning. He was balanced on the top steps of a ladder. “Hear you’re having some lock trouble. Mind if I come in?”
Dumbfounded, I nodded my assent.
“Better back up, then; I don’t have much room to maneuver on this ladder so I think I’m gonna have to somersault in.”
And with that he hauled his torso through the tiny window, placed his hands on the tiled floor, and true to his word, rolled forward in a perfect somersault to get the rest of the way through.
“Okay then,” he continued, getting up and dusting himself off like nothing out of the ordinary had just taken place. “Let’s see about this lock.” After another moment of standing in mute wonder at this turn of events, I joined him by the door so I could have a front row seat at the autopsy of that fucking saboteur lock.
The Window Acrobat had the doorknob disassembled in about two seconds. You didn’t have to be a genius to see the problem. The lock components had quite literally disintegrated, and the crunching I had heard was them grinding themselves even finer.
“Should’ve been replaced ages ago!” the Window Acrobat remarked cheerfully, poking at the metallic dust with his screwdriver. “Can’t believe this didn’t happen to someone sooner.”
After a few more minutes of fiddling, he pried the entire mechanism out and swung the door open with a gentlemanly nod. “There you are, little lady, you’re free.”
I think I managed a garbled “OHMYGODTHANKYOUSOMUCHMISTER” before I bolted and made a beeline for the dessert table to try and bury my shame in an avalanche of chocolate.
I go a bit easier on the Shirley Temples these days, just in case.