I enjoy living on my own, being able to do whatever I want without having to answer to anyone. It is pretty amazing. Except when you lock yourself out of your house…
Last week, I was walking home following a tiring 10 hour shift at the hospital. As I reached my street, I put my hand into my pocket for my keys… Only to find they weren’t there. Crap. My front door has a self locking system so I am usually pretty vigilant before I leave the house but for some reason, I wasn’t that morning.
I stood outside my house for a few minutes as the reality of the situation sunk in. As you might remember, I left my phone in Spain a few months ago and while I did eventually replace it, I hadn’t saved all my contacts. One of which was my landlord; the only person with a spare key.
So I’m pretty much regretting every decision I’ve made up to this point. My next idea was to get into my back garden. As I live in a terrace house, all the back gardens in my street are linked, meaning, should you wish, you can walk straight through to your selected house.
I first knock on the door of my right-sided neighbour, the one I have spoken to in the past. No luck. I knocked several more times before concluding that her and her partner were out. So I tried my neightbour on the left, who I knew was much more elderly. Thankfully she opened the door. I explained my situation and she allowed me to cut through her house to get to my garden. Brilliant!
Now I do have a back door that I keep locked at all times, for obvious reasons but I always keep the key in the lock. So the solution is there, right in front of me, just mere centimeters through a door. The problem is how I retrieve said key. Luckily, I have a cat who has a door of her own. Unluckily, it is a chip activated cat flap and she needs to be around for it to open.
So I gently tap on my window, knowing Clove is in the house as per usual. I wait. Nothing happens. So I try again, a little firmer this time. I can hear her bell but she refuses to come to the door. So I had to do the one thing I really didn’t want to do: I had to break her cat flap. I say break, it was more of a ‘dismantle’. I wasn’t allowed to screw it to the door when I moved in but it had been quite a snug fit that it didn’t really need screwing in. I was very thankful of this now.
In what felt like a heartbreaking scene from a Disney movie where the parent destroys something the hero adores, I began trying to dismantle the cat flap, bending it and twisting it to dislodge it from the door. It didn’t take long. By this time, Clove had ventured to see what all the commotion was about, though still not realising it was me trying to break into our house.
So I’m a step closer to the key. I was feeling pretty smug at this point. Strong independent woman here. I got down on the cold, wet ground and reached with all my might, through the gaping hole in the door towards the key… But it was no use. My arms were just millimeters too shorts to get a grip of it. Curse my small stature! But it’s OK, I’m not out of hope yet. I rummage through my bag in aid of an arm extension. I first tried my water bottle, hoping I could rotate the key in the lock. Sadly that was pointless, the bottle was far too bulky and I couldn’t really feel if it was touching the key or not. Next I tried a pen. That worked better but still didn’t quite have the effect I was after. I was getting pretty frustrated by this point. I’d take off my coat and jumper just to see if that would give me the extra reach that I needed. Nope.
Perhaps its time to get some help. I didn’t really want to bother my elderly neighbour again, it was getting on for 8pm and the temperature was dropping. As I stood up, I noticed that the kitchen light was on in the house to my right; The neighbour I thought was out.
I originally wanted to ask for her help but when she opened the door in her pj’s, it suddenly didn’t seem appropriate. In a brief moment of panic thinking, I asked if she had any tongs. This surprized us both but she was nice enough to let me borrow some.
With tongs now obtained, I headed back to my door, resumed the position and tried to grasp the key. Clove had now worked out it was me trying to break in but instead of being any bit of help, she thought it would be better to provide moral support by rubbing against my hand. Thanks, Clove…
My first few attempts at grabbing the key were useless, the rubber would not grip the metal key. I then reverted back to my previous technique of trying to turn the key in the lock. For a moment there was nothing but silence. Then suddenly…
I was in!
I have never ran into my house so quickly in my whole life. I did it, I manged to get into my own house, all on my own… because I manged to lock myself out, all on my own.
You’ll be happy to know that the cat flap did live to fight another day and I have since given my spare keys to a friend. What a night…