Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Neighbor

I wrote the following shortly after moving to the big city about 6.5 years ago. Things are getting better at work, but are still crazy and probably will be until the audit starts and my new accountant gets started. So, for now, this is what you get.

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This evening I met one of my neighbors - his name was Bruce. How, you ask, did I meet him? Well, he answered my call for help.

"Help?!" you ask.

Yes, help. You see, I was locked out of my apartment - and I was on my balcony.

Yes, you read right, I was stranded on my balcony - on the second floor.

Both my key lock and deadbolt were secured on my front door and the security bar was down on my sliding glass balcony door.


It really wasn't funny. Okay, maybe it became funny. But only after I realized that I wouldn't be yelling fruitlessly all night long.

Let me begin at the beginning.

I returned home about 5 pm from my weekend excursion to Abilene. As is my custom, after unloading my car, I locked the regular key lock and the deadbolt lock on my front door. Then I went about the business of unpacking, relaxing, etc. One of my purchases this last weekend was a tarp to protect my bicycle (which is parked on my balcony). I went out about 7:15 pm this evening to cover my bicycle. Little did I realize that my security bar would fall shut behind me after I closed the door.

So here I am, alone, barefoot, locked out of my apartment on my balcony.

What to do, I ask myself. After a moment of sheer panic, I yelled a bit.

Of course, in Dallas, no one answers to a yell for help. At least, people inside their apartments don't. After several yells - I admit they weren't ear-piercing - I was beginning to be in a total panic. Then I prayed - please God send someone to help me. That is when I saw a white Ford Explorer pulling into the parking lot that is at the west end of my building. I yelled and waved and a really nice guy came over. I explained my situation to Bruce and he went to his apartment and got his telephone. He then phoned the 24 hour on-call maintenance people. Then he went back to his apartment.

Bruce returned about 10 minutes later to check on me, but there had been no response from the maintenance people or the security patrol. After my assurances that I was okay, he returned to his apartment. Finally, one of the security guards showed up below my balcony and told me that the maintenance guy was on his way. He would have to kick in my door to get it open. The security guy asked me if both locks were locked, and when I told them they were, he left to get a key to unlock my door. Bruce returned again to check on me at this point, and seeing no one, assumed that there had been no response yet. I told him that there had been, gave him an update, and thanked him kindly for his help.

Of course, getting a key to unlock my door solved only half the problem. Remember, the deadbolt was locked too!

So, the maintenance guy finally shows up (he really didn't have to kick in my door), and he pried the door open with a crowbar and a hammer and replaced my deadbolt. All in all, it only took about an hour to get me back inside (the security guy said another lady was stuck for about 4 hours - in the middle of the night!) and the only damage is a cracked door jamb which the maintenance people will be back to fix tomorrow. Of course, from now on I will be much more careful when I go out onto my balcony. But hey, at least I found a creative way to meet one of my neighbors!


That Girl said...

You know I love that story!

DJG said...

I love that too....I have a great picture in my head.

Lana said...

At least we know that that security bar won't fall down again (unless that heavy-duty velcro gives way -- btw, have you checked it lately?)! I guess this is just one of several "interesting" moving-to-Dallas stories that ended OK that will live on and be retold forever!

Karen said...

Definitely one of those unforgettable experiences!!

Meredith said...

Wow! Great story! Nothing like starting off your new move with a bang!

elizabeth said...

Sounds like a great way to meet guys!

Little Light said...

Great story.

R Debenport said...

That is hilarious! We all need a "Bruce" in our life now and then. So that's how you spell "door jamb"... I've always wondered. Thanks for the story and the spelling lesson.