I have 25,000 things I need to do before I go to sleep, but before I do them, I have to get this out.
My daughter went to sleep around 6:45 tonight. Right after she was asleep, I put on my pjs, which are basically a tank-top and shorts. I remembered that I needed to get my school bag out of the car, because it had some papers in it that I needed in order to complete an online “professional development bundle” that is due at midnight tonight.
I decided to quickly run out to the car, which is parked in front of my building, and grab my bag. I ran back up to my porch and suddenly realized that MY DOOR IS LOCKED.
I’m freaking locked out of my house.
And everything important–my child, my phone, my purse–is inside.
I immediately ran over to my daughter’s window and started banging on it. I’m banging so hard that I thought I was going to break the window. “It’s your mommy! This is mommy banging hard! I’m locked out! Open the door!”
I was afraid I was going to completely freak her out with my banging, so I kept loudly reassuring her that it was ME banging on the window, by continuing to refer to myself in third person. “It’s Mommy banging! Mommy needs you! Open the door for mommy!”
After twenty minutes of doing this, I started to freeze. None of my nearby neighbors appeared to be at home. And I’m not even wearing a bra. And I’m actually dressed semi-inappropriately. I decided it was time to turn to the help of strangers. I saw a tiny light in a nearby apartment on and knocked on the door.
A young woman came to the door, and I told her what happened. I found out her name was Sarah, and let’s just say she is now my best friend.
Sarah loaned me a coat and gloves, and called the property manager on her phone and left a message, hoping someone would call me back. She got a little flashlight and kept shining it through my daughter’s bedroom window, hoping it would help. We continued with loud banging for another twenty minutes to no avail.
Then I was just like, “Sarah, I think I should just call a pop-a-lock place. Since apparently this new property manager we have is incompetent with returning emergency phone calls.”
We called a locksmith company and they said it would take an hour to get there, and it would cost me $79.99. “Sure, whatever, just come,” I said.
Sarah invited me in to her apartment, but I declined since I didn’t want my daughter to wake up and freak out that I wasn’t there. Although I couldn’t help but think of the irony in the situation. I’ve committed thousands of hours of my life trying to get her to sleep at night, and now the one time I REALLY JUST NEED HER TO WAKE UP, and she won’t.
Sarah offered to sit with me in the cold on my front porch to keep me company. Turns out, Sarah is a really cool person. Like I said, we are now freaking BFFs. We talked about the sucky rental company but also about how much we love Woodruff Place (our neighborhood) and her boyfriend, Steve, who walks his cat on a leash and writes obituaries for the newspaper.
Finally the locksmith arrived. I’m usually good at understanding people with accents, but I seriously could only understand 30% of what he said. Just at the EXACT moment I’m telling him to pick the damn lock, the property manager’s inebriated husband called me back (on Sarah’s phone) and said he would be right over to unlock the door.
I still had to pay the locksmith $35 for just showing up. After the inebriated guy who just came home from a Christmas party showed up to unlock the door, I needed to go in and get my purse to pay the locksmith who had patiently been waiting. I began digging in my purse for my credit card.
He suddenly said in his thick, unidentifiable accent, “Are you okay, madam?”
I looked up at him. His eyes looked concerned.
And suddenly I burst into tears. Not just quiet little tears, but sobbing, awful, loud, snotty cries. “No, I’m not okay. I’m not,” I blubbered.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I’ve been out in the cold, dressed like this… I mean my neighbor gave me a coat, but I was just so worried about my daughter…just so wo-wo-wo-worried,” I stuttered out loud sobs between the words. The locksmith’s dark eyes were just so comforting that for a moment I felt like I had known him for a hundred years.
“But it’s okay. Everything is okay. Your baby…she fine. She ok. You okay, too.”
“Yes, I know,” I said, taking in deep breaths.
As he was leaving my house, I asked him where he was from. “Israel,” he told me. “I have one month here.” Then he proceeded to tell me about how locks in Israel are different than the ones here, but I was too tired and emotionally drained to decipher what he was saying.
As he walked away, I followed him out the door to return Sarah’s coat to her.
“Wait!” he said. “Do you have a key?”
“No, but I’m just walking this coat over, and the door is open-”
“Ma’am. Take your key. The cats–they can…you know..close it. Cats push the door, you know?”
Thank God for the locksmith.
While I don’t think I’ll ever see him again, I will see my new BFF, Sarah. Maybe the whole point of tonight’s adventure was to remind me of the kindness of strangers, the power of a thoughtful question, and presence of people in close proximity who I only see in passing, but are actually really cool.
And just a personal note to my mother, who I know may have been hyperventilating as she read this story: If you’re reading this mom, remember what the locksmith said. Everything is okay. “My baby-she fine. I okay, too.” 😉