Thursday, September 14, 2006

How to Sabotage a Perfect Afternoon

First, finish cleaning the house. After all, it should have been a one-day project, and you've been working on it all week. So just try to ignore the sunshine outside and get the vacuuming and mopping done already, damn it.

Next, have lunch. It's 4:00 by now, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is on, so you can watch that while you eat. And if you're going to watch that fluff, you might as well watch a real trivia show: Jeopardy! comes on next.

After Jeopardy!, you remember that you have a couple of overdue bills to pay, so you should get the checks written out now, while you're thinking of it. You can put them in the mailbox tomorrow morning.

Finally, it's time to make a cup of tea and go outside with a book. You've always read on the front porch before, but the sun looks nice and warm in the back yard. While the water's boiling for the tea, you can drag a chair out there.

On your way outside with the chair, you close the outermost door behind you--the one you share with your landlord's upstairs apartment--and momentarily wonder why. You've never done that before, because there's also a screen door.

You set your chair in a sunny spot beside a low wicker table, where you can easily reach for your tea. Then you go back inside to check on the water for the tea and grab your book and cell phone.

Well, you try to go back inside. But you had no idea, when you unlocked the deadbolt in the door, that the knob was also locked. How could you have known? You've never tried to open this door from the outside before, and the lock doesn't keep the knob from turning on the inside. So you're locked out from the back of the house. You walk around to the front and try that door, even though you know it's locked. You always keep it locked.

Scan the street for your landlord's car. She's not home. Ring the bell anyway. No answer.

Go around to the back of the house, where you can hear the kettle whistling, and pick at the screens on the kitchen windows. They seem designed to prevent break-ins: completely enclosed by the window frame, which won't bend without breaking. Try to turn the back doorknob hard enough to break the lock. No luck.

Walk across the street, where the only neighbor you've ever met is shoveling mulch in her driveway. Explain that your landlord once mentioned something about one of the neighbors having a key to your apartment, and ask if she knows who that might be. She suggests a house, and goes inside to check her own keys to see if she might have one from years ago, while you knock on the door of someone you've never met. They don't answer either, and the neighbor across the street doesn't have a key anymore. But she loans you her cell phone so you can at least call your boyfriend to see if he has any suggestions.

He doesn't. But he does tell you, when you ask, that he doesn't think you're strong enough to break the lock in the doorknob. So you quit trying that and go back to the kitchen window. You're frustrated enough now that you give the screen a really hard upward push, and get a crack between the edge of the screen and the window frame almost wide enough to stick a finger in. You look more closely at the screen, and realize it isn't break-in proof after all. It pops right off with the right manipulation. You pull a chair up underneath the window and climb in, scraping your arm and leg on the way up, and very nearly damaging your groin.

Turn off the burner under the kettle. Return the neighbor's cell phone. Put the screen back in, while having your ankle bitten by an ant clearly sent for vengeance from the colony whose home your chair leg destroyed. Turn around to go back inside and get your book and tea, and see that the sun has dipped behind some trees and the entire back yard is shaded now. Take your chair inside. There might still be a little time to read on the porch before dinner. Maybe.

3 Comments:

Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I have done this and feel your pain.

I hope you got to read.

:D

9/14/2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I didn't...but I will today. I just have ONE thing I have to get done first....

9/15/2006 11:42 AM  
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9/26/2006 1:51 PM  

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