So I’m not always the cleverest person around. I’m smart but I’m sometimes immune to details, little things that careful people do to make their lives easier.
I’ve locked myself out of this rental house twice (TWICE) since I moved in about six months ago. Brilliant, right? The first time was the very day I moved in.
I’d had a very rough day moving out of my old house, and into the new one. Alone for the first time in many years, and with everything in boxes, without the wherewithal to pack clothes for the next day, I went grocery shopping at WalMart and bought a cheap disposable shirt, went “home” to the new house. (For months I accidentally got 99% of the way to my old house before realizing my error. I did a lot on autopilot then, and this night was no exception.)
I took a much-needed shower, washed my hair to rinse the dust of moving off, get a fresh start. I put on a pair of sleeping shorts (not known for their ability to cover much) and a sports bra. It was midsummer and sweaty-hot outside. Kona needed to go potty, so I went outside with him, closing the back door behind me.
It’s always been my habit to use the deadbolt when locking the back door, simply because it’s a lot harder to bust through. I was alone in a new environment, and had locked the front door deadbolt, every single window lock checked twice, even to the point of putting the door plate over the door in the garage. Safe.
Except when you don’t realize the doorknob is locked. And you close the door behind you.
By this time it was well after 10PM, probably closer to midnight. I did not have my phone on me. Or any makeup or clothes. The only phone number I actually knew was my ex’s, and calling him the same day I’d moved out to say I’ve locked myself out was not going to happen. He had a way of disapproving of my mistakes and accidental stupidity, and that was the last thing I needed, someone else to castigate me. I was doing a fine job by myself.
I debated waiting until morning to call the landlord from a neighbor’s phone – it was too warm for comfort outside, and I was exhausted and would pay any amount to be inside. I also wanted to eat, for the first time that day. Also, the movers would be there at 7am, and I would have to have a place for them to put all of my worldly possessions. Dilemma.
So I sucked it up, crossed my arms over my chest, and walked into the front yard, barefoot, in the dark. I wanted to bring Kona with me but I didn’t have his leash with me, and he was hypervigilant, Protecting His Mama In This Strange Place. I noticed that my next door neighbor’s lights were on, and I thought I saw a lady working in the front office. Thank God.
I cautiously approached the dark stoop and knocked. Nothing. I waited forever, debating giving up, but finally knocked again.
So. Now what.
Embarrassed to have to disturb my brand new neighbors, I rang the doorbell. It sounded so loud…so humiliating to need this help, half-naked, completely conscious of my aloneness. The door opened a crack, then opened wider. The light from the interior fell on me and instinctively I stepped back a bit more.
Of course my new neighbor who sees me in the roughest, most raw and broken state I’ve been in in a while…is hot. And while this sounds like the start of a porno, it so isn’t. It’s way less cool than that. Early 20s, tall, handsome…but a little confused about what this woman was doing on his porch. I introduced myself as their new neighbor and asked to borrow his phone – he handed me his cell, and I attempted to find a browser, but using someone else’s phone is like following a map of their mind, and I simply couldn’t. Also Android, so it was like trying to drive in a foreign country without a driver’s license, and I barely had two brain cells to rub together. Stood there awkwardly like that, barefoot on a dark porch, stumbling through the process of finding and calling a locksmith. Of course the first three I called never answered, so I had to find more, keep calling, God let this be over.
I finally got a hold of a service that said someone could come out, and attempted to retreat to my Kona, my safer-than-out-here place. But no, he asked me to come inside. I’m thinking I should have been firmer about not extending this awkwardness, but he mentioned that I have to wait for the actual locksmith to call back, so I might as well be inside, closer to his phone, at least until then.
So I go inside, not wanting to put him out any more than I already had. I sat on the couch, he the other, and we chatted about things, random things, as if this disheveled loon wasn’t half-naked and sweaty-sticking to the vinyl couch. In my head I thanked God he wasn’t creepy, or sleazy or about to tie me up in his basement. I felt like it was such a risk showing up on the doorstep of a strange man in the middle of the night, knowing nobody would be there to notice if I didn’t go home. Or waiting for me to make sure I was safe.
An hour passed. We’d exhausted polite conversation, and he’d put his headphones on and started watching videos on YouTube. I sat there and sat there and sat there. I’m not judging his hospitality – his parents were asleep in the other room, and I wondered who the lady in the front room was but I wasn’t about to ask. Hot neighbor started to fall asleep.
Eventually I gathered myself enough to say, “Maybe I should call another locksmith. I don’t think this one is coming.” He didn’t hear me, so I had to repeat it. The whole phoning a locksmith, but not the ones I’d already called nor the one that had failed me happened, and I finally took my leave. I was about to try to break a damn window or something, fuck this noise.
Sat in the light on my front porch, told Kona to post up in front of me, and waited. For what seemed like forever, again, but at least this way I didn’t have to cover my tummy, my thighs, my cleavage, and Hot Unintentionally Rude Med Student Neighbor could go to bed. We sat there for what seemed an eternity, Kona ears-up and vigilant, me leaning against the brick wall, exhausted, unable to nap, even in this unseemly place, over the growling of my tummy, Suddenly Kona leapt up and raced into the shadows, barking his I SEE YOU ASSHOLE Big Dog Bark. That German Shepherd police dog going for the jugular bark. I followed him, and saw that it was Hot Neighbor, hands in the air, Kona reared up on his hind legs so he can bark directly in this guy’s face.
I got Kona to calm down, and he hastily said the locksmith was on his way, and would be there soon before he retreated to his house amid a rain of apologies and “I swear he won’t bite you, he’s a good boy”s. Last thing I needed was for him to bite someone for the first time and have to be put down or something awful like that. Every scenario was Worst Case at this point, and Kona was visibly beaming with pride in his crazy bravery.
The locksmith part of the story was uneventful, and he was kind, and fudged the receipt a bit so I could claim it on my car insurance. He did also happen to mention that he didn’t think a woman should be outside alone at night, and I laughed until I cried at this innocent statement. I was finally inside.