It was a blustery Saturday morning. I had gotten Katr her coffee, the dog had been walked and I was just doing a little clean up in the kitchen before starting an omelette. A week of being too lazy to take out the garbage had taken its toll on "kitchen freshness" - so I decided to be industrious and take the bag out before starting to make breakfast.
I boodled out to the garbage enclosure. The first bin was full, so I had to step inside to deposit the bag. A gust of wind blew up and the door shut behind me.
Locking me in.
And there I was. Trapped in the roofless garbage area. In the rain.
I rattled the door. One time, in our old apartment, I got locked out and I just sort of leaned on the door and the shitty doorjam splintered and I got back in. This technique did not work on the sturdy garbage area latch.
I wracked my brain. Hadn't this same thing happened to our neighbour Syvo not long after we moved into this place? Yes! What did she do? She had her phone! So she called me and I let her out!
I didn't have my phone.
Katr was home and knew that I'd gone out to the garbage area. But she also knows that I'm chatty as fuck and will often wile away half an hour talking to various neighbours, rubbing their dogs and hearing about their old people health problems. I knew she'd come look for me...eventually. But until then...huh.
You'd think after three years, I'd be more careful about getting locked into the garbage area. But the thing is that we usually keep a padlock on the latch, which, when opened to admit access to the garbage area, prevents the latch from closing all the way.
I'd taken the padlock off earlier in the week, when the weather was below freezing and the lock became very difficult to open. Maybe getting trapped in the garbage area was some kind of karmic payback for having a lock on that latch to begin with.
The padlock on the garbage area makes me feel like a bourgeois asshole. Like I'm saying to the people who want to go through our garbage "Our caviar garbage is too fancy for you, riff raff."
But the reality is that the people who go through our garbage are the reason we had to put the padlock on, because they would go in there and rip through the garbage bags and leave all the garbage strewn around, so that at 6:30 a.m. on rainy Monday morning, I would have to pick all of our fucking garbage up and put it in the bins AGAIN before dragging the bins into the alley. Not cool.
Also, we were pretty sure that drunk people were fucking in there on weekends. Which is surprising, because it's not super sexy in there. I would know. Being trapped and all.
The walls of the enclosure are too high to see over, so I started jumping up periodically to see if anyone was around. Our neighbour isn't a high action place but there's usually SOMEONE wandering around, walking their dog, smoking or having a shouty cell phone conversation with their ex. I tore a flap of cardboard off a box and started waving it around over the door, just in case someone in the apartment building opposite saw and came to investigate. I alternated waving and jumping. Nada.
About fifteen minutes in - just as I was thinking about adding a screaming sound to my jumping and waving efforts - my other neighbours Jaco and Kich emerged from their back door on the second floor - which looks directly into the garbage area. I have never been so happy to see them - and was also filled with gratitude that we have the kind of nice, friendly neighbours who will let you out of the garbage area instead of asshole neighbours who would ignore you for weird, vindictive reasons. They laughingly sprung me from the garbage enclosure.
Giddy with freedom, I boodled back to the loving arms of Katr, all the while imagining how Danny Boyle would film my story. It would probably be pretty artsy.
The padlock is back on the latch...but there is also a new addition, thanks to handy upstairs neighbour Je(I don't know his last name). After hearing about my fifteen minutes of incarceration, he called to tell me that he's rigged the latch with a wire that's attached to a nail on the inside of the enclosure, so that if anyone gets trapped in there again, they can let themselves out. He didn't call it an "idiot string" - but I do.
And I am very thankful it's there.