Did I ever tell you about the time I got locked in my bedroom closet?
It happened several years ago, on a warm and sunny Saturday morning. I was putting away my fresh laundry, starting with sorting my lingerie into my dresser drawers.
Next, I turned to my small closet to hang up the rest of my clothing. The closet was a walk-in, complete with two clothing rods on either side, with a pair of shelves overhead. Inside, there was just enough room for me to walk in, choose my clothing for the day, and even change into my outfit. Not bad for an old brick rowhouse on the far southwest side of the city.
Like the rest of the closet doors in my home, this closet door boasted a vintage glass doorknob on the outside. I admit that it was those cute doorknobs that partly convinced me to purchase my home. Another principal reason was its hardwood floors throughout the home. Sure, they were creaky, but I loved the look of ’em.
But since it was an antiquated home, I also knew to never fully close my bedroom closet door.
Since it tended to stick. And not budge.
You can see where I’m going with this.
I was inside such closet one bright and sunny Saturday morning, putting away my clean laundry, when suddenly my fiancé-to-be decided to shut that closet door.
He often tries to be funny. And he usually can manage to make me chuckle. Except this was definitely NOT one of those times.
I heard a click.
“Hey, Heidi, come out of the closet!” he taunted me through the closed door.
Within an instant, I knew I was stuck. I didn’t want to panic, but I knew the situation was not good. I had shut the door once before — from the outside — and quickly learned never to completely shut it again. You see, old wooden doors tend to swell in the summer heat. And then they become stuck.
Wouldn’t you know it, the door wasn’t budging as I tried the knob from within.
I yelled. He yelled back.
I pushed. He pulled.
My teen-aged daughter came in to help. This time, she yelled. I yelled.
I pushed. She pulled.
Again, you see where I’m heading with this story.
The two of them decided to search for a tool in my basement to pry the door open. Guess what? My collection of hardware was limited.
Next, they ran back down to the first floor, out the front door, and asked the neighbors for any tools that might help my – er – situation.
Meanwhile, I waited inside the closet. What other choice did I have?
The first neighbor immediately ran over to my house, huffing and puffing up the stairs and found his way into my master bedroom.
Problem was, he had no tools with him. This led me to believe he was simply a spectator. Which meant I was getting more agitated.
Next, the gal from the corner rowhouse stopped by. I heard her mumble something to my boyfriend, my daughter, and the spectator. Then her warning came. “Heidi, stand back!” she cried. “I’m gonna chop down your door with my ax!”
“NO!” I yelled from inside the closet. “Please don’t do that to my door!” I had images of a splintered door, a broken door jamb, and — quite possibly — blood.
The group put their heads together and decided to call 9-1-1.
Here’s what happened within the next two minutes.
(Bless you, Chicago first responders)…
Two police squad cars – blue flashers on – arrived in front of my home. A fire truck – sirens blaring — pulled up on Artesian Avenue, effectively blocking any traffic from coming down the street.
By this time, the other neighbors gathered in front of my house. Typically, a couple squad cars and a fire engine will do that — especially in a tight-knit Chicago neighborhood. A group of young boys on their bikes stopped on my front lawn to gawk at the emergency vehicles. And then their eyes turned toward my upstairs bedroom window.
People pointed and asked about the commotion. “What’s going on? Is there a fire? Is someone in trouble?”
They didn’t have to wonder long. The spectator’s wife was on my front lawn, too. “Heidi got locked in her closet,” she conveniently told the crowd.
Next, I heard a number of raucous boots, stomping up my wooden staircase, along with what I imagined to be several pairs of sneakers, and some bare feet from my daughter. The decrepit floorboards had never seen so much action.
I heard a dozen or more boots walk closer to my closet door and stop. A strong male voice rang out. “Are you alright in there, Miss?” I heard from the opposite side of my closet.
“Yes, I’m breathing slowly so I don’t get any more anxious than I already am,” I called back.
“Stand back, I’m gonna pry this door open!” he ordered.
One. Two Three. CRACK!
I was released.
I stood there. They stood there. All of them. My daughter and my bright fella. The spectator and my friend with her ax. A tall firefighter, holding the pry bar he used to rescue me.
In addition to them, I counted four police officers and five more firefighters — courtesy of the City of Chicago. Just staring at me, as I stood in the closet (sans door).
I peered over my shoulder, to check out the windows which faced my front lawn. The neighbors waved. And cheered.
My face turned beet red. “Thank you,” was all I could manage.
Everyone – especially the handsome uniforms – laughed good naturedly, as they milled about my bedroom. I have to admit, having ten of Chicago’s finest in my bedroom was rather gratifying — heck, almost fantasy-like. I just wish the circumstances were a lot less embarrassing.
Truth be told, I really didn’t think the episode could get much more humiliating.
But then I noticed an errant pair of my black lace panties that had been sitting on my bedroom floor the entire time. I’m not sure how many boots had trampled over the underwear at that point. But there they lied, on the floor.
For all my Saturday morning guests to see.
Thank you for reading – PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST