We’ve all locked ourselves out of places, haven’t we? Out of our houses, our cars?
Lately, though, we’ve heard of people getting locked in, not out.
A man on an airliner fell asleep and awoke to find the plane dark, empty and locked. His cellphone saved him from a much longer holdover in Houston than he had planned.
In Washington, D.C., an office worker went to the restroom and found, on trying to leave, the door locked. She had to bash a hole in the wall to get out.
Finally, there was Thanksgiving at our house. We had a crowd, so I went to our bedroom to pursue a post-turkey nap. Our 3-year-old dynamo of a granddaughter, Reagan, kept running into and out of the room, slamming the door each time, with books for me to read to her. Needless to say, I wasn’t actually getting much R & R.
The last time she tried to run back to the crowd in the living room, the bedroom doorknob wouldn’t turn. She rattled it noisily.
“Is it locked?” I asked.
“Then turn it harder.”
“That doesn’t help.”
“Then turn it softer.” I’m more of a consultant than a handyman.
She eventually opened the door and left.
A minute later, she was back, trying to get into the bedroom.
“Let me in, Papa!”
Figuring she had locked the knob on the way out, I dragged myself up and went to let her in.
The knob wouldn’t budge. It wasn’t locked. The knob simply wouldn’t twist.
“Turn it hard,” Reagan offered from the other side of the door. If I had been able to reach her I would have thumped her.
Whether I twisted the knob hard or soft, the knob wouldn’t move. I banged on the door to get the attention of all the people in the living room. They finally heard me over their racket.
“Help! I’m locked in!”
“Knock off the clowning, Glynn,” my wife said. “Reagan wants to get in and play.”
It took awhile to convince everybody that I was a prisoner. Nobody could open it from the outside, either.
Thank goodness that Reagan’s dad, Dennis, was out there. He took out the screws holding the knob in place and removed it. Even fiddling with the inner workings of the mechanism didn’t help, though, so he from the outside and I from the inside bashed everything, breaking it in the process. We never found any mechanical reason for the malfunction.
We removed the knob from a little-used door and installed it on the bedroom door. Because it was Thanksgiving, we were thankful that my wife or a child hadn’t gotten locked in, unnoticed by everyone.
Has the rise of the machines begun with the lowly doorknob? Are houses becoming like Stephen King’s Christine, the Plymouth with a mind of its own?
Now we have one more thing to worry about and keep us awake at night.