Well, tonight I had an…”adventure” is probably too strong a word.
I was sitting around, typing, working up a storm. My charming celebrity host was off at a seminar about helping abused children. I was plugging away, tea in hand, when I heard a fire engine.
Now, this wouldn’t normally be an issue. I’ve heard a lot of fire engines. However, it parked directly outside the building, and they’ve been having a lot of fires in the hills here lately, so after a few minutes of hearing the siren and seeing the lights flash through the kitchen window, I got up to go check.
I opened the front door, stepped outside into the little walled courtyard, and saw that the fire truck was accompanied by an ambulance, parked next door, probably a sign that something unfortunate had happened to a neighbor. “That’s a damn shame,” I thought vaguely….and from behind me, there came a soft and curiously final click.
My stomach lurched, and my heart slid delicately down into my toes.
The front door had locked.
I didn’t have a key.
Charming celebrity host (CCH for short) wasn’t due back until 11:00, and it was now…8:45.
I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a light sweatshirt, and a pair of very thin socks with pink hearts on them.
I checked my pockets, in case I’d somehow left a set of lockpicks in them. (Hey, there’s always a first time…) Nope. My cel phone and a Kleenex. A succession of D&D thieves I have played writhed in internal shame.
I tried the CCH, but he was in a seminar and had, of course, politely turned off his phone. My agent’s phone was down for most of today. You can’t call 911 over something like this. We need another number for “mild discomfort emergency.” (“Hi, this is 912! We’ll send someone out with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, stat!”)
The courtyard is about six feet wide, and perhaps forty feet long, walled and potted attractively with papyrus and several other tropicals. Nice courtyard. Not well lit. Not heated. Hmmm. I could go outside, but the gate would probably lock behind me, and then I’d be on the street in my socks. They don’t go in for sidewalks up here.
Here I am in one of the swankiest neighborhoods in North America, on a trip so surreal that I can only comprehend it in little bits and chunks, and I’m locked out of the house.
I went over to the sliding glass door to my bedroom, which was open six inches and locked in place, so the Pomeranian could get out. There is a lovely bouquet of pink roses and cut flowers on my nightstand. They mocked me with their inside-ness. Roses are such bastards.
“Well,” I said, wiggling my toes in my heart-covered socks, “nobody ever died of hypothermia in southern California in May.”
And so I did what we all do in this situation. I called my parents.
They offered moral support. We chatted for a couple of hours. I paced the length of the courtyard several hundred times. At about 10:15, my bladder became apprised of the situation, and I had a bad feeling I might wind up violating one of the potted papyrus, but fortunately, my charming host got out of his seminar about then, was horrified to learn of the situation, and drove back at breakneck speed (and in a Land Rover, that’s saying something.)
He apologized a few thousand times (as if it was his fault his neighbor had a medical emergency and I wandered fecklessly out without a key!) but really, my life has been like a David Lynch movie ever since James decided he wanted to seperate back in January. If it hadn’t been two hours pacing a walled courtyard, I probably would have been assaulted by a midget wearing a flaming hairpiece, so I figured that all things considered, I got off easily.