“Daddy! Mommy’s stuck in the bathroom!”
“No, no,” I chuckled, “I think maybe Mommy wants to be stuck in the bathroom. If she’s not coming out, why don’t we give her some space.” Ah, children, I thought to myself, someday they will understand why we adults get “stuck” in the bathroom sometimes. Mommy probably just needs some alone time.
“No Daddy, she’s really stuck and she told me to come get you! She can’t get out!”
40 minutes earlier…
“Ok, we’re going to get Ruby at the birthday party!” I called out to my wife.
“Are you taking Edward?” she asked.
“Yes! See you in a few minutes!” I grabbed the boy and jumped in the car, off to retrieve my daughter from the heap of 8-year-olds where I had left her two hours earlier. I pulled out of the driveway, and my wife went into the bathroom to continue her preparations for going back to grad school. Her ride would be there in just over an hour, and she needed to get some things done.
I arrived to find the party slightly behind schedule. There had been no cake. There had been no presents. There had been no piñata. The mother was running around apologizing to everyone for being behind schedule, but hey, as long as the kids were having fun it wasn’t a big deal. We weren’t in a hurry, right?
She had been trying to open the door for several minutes, but with no success. Her phone was in the other room, and she now found herself stuck in our bathroom. The first thing she tried was to get into the doorknob using a nail file. If my wife could somehow trip the latch mechanism and release the catch, she would be free. This turned out to be fruitless, so she started trying to get the hinges apart.
“Sure, I’ll have some cake,” I said happily. After all, it was ice cream cake. Edward had taken his shoes and socks off and climbed into the bouncy house, so we were going to be there a while. What a relaxing afternoon!
After much struggle and no small amount of finger pain, my wife managed to get one of the hinge pieces out, but the others were stuck tight. With no tools other than the nail file, some tweezers, and some nail clippers, it didn’t look like she was going to be able to get those hinges apart. Desperate now, she thought about breaking the door down, but it opened in. There was no way. She began to scream for help.
“Yeah, we can stay for the piñata!” I said happily. “Is it hung up?” Ruby assured me that it was and, since she was basically running the party at this point, my daughter organized everyone into a line and they started taking whacks at it while I chatted with the other parents there about next year’s teachers and who was allergic to what. When the giant paper strawberry finally broke open, I ran over to make sure that
I my kids got as much candy as possible. There were Skittles! And Tootsie Pops! Things were going very well.
Pounding on the door and screaming at the top her lungs, my wife tried to make as much noise as possible in the hopes that one of the neighbors would hear her. And despite our being able to hear every neighbor walk up and down their stairs, and being able to clearly tell what television program they were all watching, no one heard my wife’s desperate pleas for assistance. She eventually gave up shouting and went back to work on the hinges.
“We really should be getting back so we can spend some time with Mommy before she leaves again,” I informed my children. They were ready to go by then, with goodie bags full of candy and bodies full of sugar. We wandered around gathering up the socks and shoes and everything else of ours that had somehow become scattered across the property, and then we said goodbye to everyone and began the drive back home. When we arrived I sent Ruby inside to put away her candy, as I stood out in the courtyard talking to some neighbors.
“Daddy! Mommy’s stuck in the bathroom!”
I decided I had better humor Ruby and go make sure my wife was not actually on the verge of tears due to having been stuck in our bathroom for over 30 minutes with no way to communicate with the outside world. Seemed unlikely. “Ruby says you’re stuck in the bathroom!” I called up the stairs. “Are you really stuck in the bathroom?”
“Yes!” I heard my wife’s voice come down to me, with just a touch of panic in it. So I ran up quickly and tried to open the door. No luck. The knob turned, but the door wouldn’t open. I slammed my body against it, hoping that perhaps if I hit it really hard it would just decide to open. It did not. I got a credit card and tried to get it into the door frame like they do in the movies, but this also was unsuccessful. So I ran out to my deck and yelled down into the courtyard to someone much handier than I.
“Beryl!” I shouted out, “she’s really stuck in the bathroom! Can you come help me break the door down?!”
“What? Seriously?” he asked incredulously. Then with a sigh, “I’ll get my toolbox.”
“What’s going on?!” came a voice from the deck next door. “She’s stuck in the bathroom? Do you need Swack to come help you?” At that point I was going to take any help I could get, so I said yes and then returned to the outside of the bathroom door to comfort wife.
“Don’t worry,” I told her, “I screamed to all of the neighbors that you are trapped in the bathroom, and help is on the way!” I’m sure this made her feel much better.
Beryl arrived with his tools and started fiddling with the doorknob, but unfortunately the places that he needed to get to were only accessible from the other side of the door, and without a screwdriver my wife couldn’t do anything useful at all. I was ready to start breaking it down, because yeah, not having a bathroom door would kind of suck, but hey, I’ve always kind of wanted to break down a door! But then, using special magic, Swack turned the doorknob one last time and the door miraculously opened. She was free!
She had been trapped for over 40 minutes, and her ride was coming in less than 15, so my wife went into eating cake mode, which I think we can all agree she deserved. Beryl stayed and fixed the doorknob from the other side with his screwdriver, so now it does not trap innocent family members anymore, and Swack went home a conquering hero.
And that, dear readers, is why you never go into the bathroom without your phone.
And a screwdriver.