The expat life has its dramas, crises, traumas, and adventures, some more exciting than others. Did you read last week’s tale of my getting trapped in the toilet of a restaurant in tropical Ghana? You should!
Photo by mirsasha
Anyway, now fast-forward a few months and you’ll find me newly arrived in Armenia, a small country huddled in the Caucasus Mountains where they eat a lot of yogurt, stare at foreigners, and dance with their hands twirling up in the air. None of this is neither here nor there in terms of this story, but I thought you’d like to know. On with it.
The bathroom in which my second crise de toilette takes place is the bathroom of our very own little yellow house, the one we moved into only the day before. It’s nice, cozy and warm. Outside it is arctic.
It’s early morning and my mate is about to leave for the office for a day of toil. I go into the bathroom and lock the door. I don’t know why I lock the door, since it’s just the two of us. It must be that this is a new place and when finding oneself in an unfamiliar place one would obviously lock the loo door when planning private bodily functions. Well, assuming one is a properly brought up person and not a deviant of some sort.
So, when done with bodily functions, I try to unlock the door, but fail. It’s not the door itself, but the lock. It’s a slide and it refuses to do what it is created to do: slide. I push harder. Nothing. I work and maneuver it in various ways, but it won’t budge even a smidgen.
So I pound on the door and call out for my prince to come and rescue me. How he’ll do that I have no idea, but he’s the guy and he should have the answers, don’t you agree? Unfortunately my man does not hear me because I’ve been a busy bee early on and the washing machine, located in the bathroom, is lustily spinning its little European heart out and making a horrendous racket. I turn off the machine and pound on the door some more. He still doesn’t hear me right away because he’s lost in the joy of politics watching BBC on TV.
However, eventually there he is, on the other side of the door. We push and pull to no avail. I can’t find anything hard in the bathroom to bang the slide with. My better half slides a knife under the door, but I can’t do anything with it. A screw driver would work to take the whole blasted thing off, but the ones we own are still sailing the high seas in our shipment, and a screw driver wouldn’t fit under the door anyway.
So, we contemplate the window. Which is prettily decorated with ice flowers.
Photo by Miia Havusalmi
Unfortunately it is also adorned with burglar proofing, so I cannot escape through there. Not that I’d know how to get down because we’re on the second floor of the building here and we own no ladder. And even if we had a ladder, we couldn’t position it safely because stairs run up along the outside wall.
I am trapped behind bars. Oh, the melodrama!
I could lower the belt of my mate’s bathrobe out of the window and then he could tie a screw driver to it and I could fish it up through the bars. But how to obtain a screw driver? From the nervous, trembling old lady living in the basement apartment? She speaks no English, and we speak no Armenian, and would she even own one?
It all seems so hopeless, but think, it could even be worse than hopeless: Imagine if my spouse would have already left for work. I’d be here all alone, all day, without food, without wine. Incarcerated behind bars with only water and not even bread. Now at least he can keep me company and give me comfort from behind the other side of the door. But still, no food and no wine to sustain me through this crisis.
Last resort is of course for my man to go to the office and ask one of the Armenians there for assistance. I can see it now, the new big boss from America asking for help because his wife is locked in the toilet.
In desperation, I try the lock one more time, and why and how I don’t know, but I end up pulling the little slide knob toward me, outward, and feel something budge in the inner workings of the contraption. Bingo! The slide moves sideways as long as I keep the knob pulled out toward me at the same time. Maybe I have led a sheltered life, but I don’t remember encountering a gadget like this before. But I am free! I fall into my beloved’s arms. He kisses me and runs off to work. Well, so it goes.
I’d better put a sign over the damn thing so guests won’t get themselves locked in. Dear Guest: Worry not! You are not trapped! Simply first pull the little knob out toward you, then slide it sideways at the same time.
Time has passed since the two traumatic occasions of my being trapped in sanitary facilities. However, you know how the saying goes: Three’s the charm.
I live in fear.
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Do you have any fun tales of spending time locked up somewhere? Bathroom, bedroom, closet, prison? Okay, forget prison.