Some things only happen in San Francisco. Things like getting trapped in your own back yard. Sigh.
This happened last Saturday. I was at my mom’s rental property in San Francisco, cleaning it up a bit. I had gone out to the back yard to spray some weeds with vinegar (non-toxic weed killer), and when I reached for the doorknob to get back into the house—surprise! The door was locked.
How did this happen? I didn’t lock the door. I thought about it for a moment, but I looked around the yard and realized that I had something much bigger to worry about … I was trapped.
Normal back yards have at least one side gate, right? Not so in San Francisco. Houses are packed together like sardines. There are no side yards or side gates. See the photo below for a complete picture of how on Earth getting trapped in one’s own back yard could possibly happen. The pink lines are fences.
I figured that I was in good enough shape that could probably hop one fence without getting too injured. Four? No freaking way. The odds would not be in my favor.
Now, I did have the key to the front door in my pocket. Unfortunately, that didn’t really help. I started brainstorming. Hmm … I could loop the hose over the vent stack and climb up on the roof, walk across the roof, and drop down onto the front porch (very high probably of injury) … I could break a window … I could call a locksmith (thank God I brought my phone out here with me).
Oh! Since I have the front door key, I could throw it to one of the neighbors and ask them to walk around to the front of the house and unlock the back door!
I waited for awhile, hoping one of the neighbors would happen to wander out into their back yards.
Movement! I saw movement in the neighbor’s window! Maybe I can wave my hands around and yell and get their attention!
It was a woman—naked and getting dressed. Ugh, I can’t wave my hands around and yell at a naked lady. I averted my eyes until she finished getting dressed, and when I looked up again, she was gone. Aaaaargh!
I waited some more. I called Jef. I called my mom. Of course, Jef was in San Diego and my mom was stuck at home taking care of my dad. But at least if I died out there they’d know where to look.
After about 45 minutes, the next-door neighbor happened to step out onto his porch. YES!!!!! I quickly yelled out to him my predicament, and he gladly accepted the challenge of catching my keys, letting himself in to the house via the front door, and unlocking the back door for me.
I’d never been so happy to see another human. He let me in, and the rest of my day was thankfully uneventful.
About that lock on the back door, apparently it was designed by the most evil doorknob engineer ever. It’s one of those knobs that has a twist-style lock in the center of the knob. The non-evil version of these knobs will not turn if the lock is has been engaged, so you can’t open the door from the inside if the knob is locked. This makes sense, right? If the knob is locked, you shouldn’t be able to open the door.
This isn’t the case with the evil doorknob. If the evil doorknob is locked, it’s still possible to turn the knob and open the door from the inside. And turning the knob doesn’t automatically unlock the door either. Evil, evil, evil!
So that’s my story. How’s your day going?