By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
In nearly three decades of marriage, my wife has never locked me out of the house. That’s because she needs me on the premises so I can let her in after she locks herself out.
This recently happened, for approximately the 247th time if you are scoring at home, which you can’t do if you are locked out, when Sue shouted to me from the front yard to let her in.
I was upstairs, in the bathroom, wearing only a towel because I had just stepped out of the shower. So I had to go downstairs, dripping wet, and open the front door in full view of the entire neighborhood. I’m lucky I wasn’t arrested.
Because we are empty nesters, there is no one else to let Sue in. That includes the dog, who can’t reach the doorknob. If Sue is outside, banging on the door because she is locked out, the dog just barks, as if to say, "Call Daddy."
That’s exactly what Sue did during another lockout a few weeks ago, except she had to call me from next door because, instead of being in the house, I was at work. "I locked myself out," she whimpered after she had gone outside to give some water to our dog and our daughter’s dog, for whom we were puppy-sitting, and closed the door behind her. I had a choice: I could drive home, which would take about 45 minutes, or I could tell Sue to call a locksmith, who would charge us a figure rivaling the cost of the key to Fort Knox.
I must admit that I had previously needed the services of that very same locksmith when I broke my key off in the lock on the front door. This time, Sue was at work. I couldn’t call her because the phone was in the house and the neighbors weren’t home. So I had to risk breaking my foot in a futile effort to kick the door down. As it turned out, I broke two of my fingernails, which I used to pry the broken key out of the lock. Cost of a new key: $125.
Not wanting to risk bankruptcy, which would get both of us locked out of the house, I drove home to let Sue in. Because of heavy traffic, it took me an hour. I arrived to find that Sue and both dogs were with our next-door neighbors, who had once house-sat for us but, being honest people, had given back the key, which at that moment was locked inside the house.
Unfortunately, Sue isn’t the only family member with a key problem. Last year, before she left the nest and adopted the aforementioned puppy, our younger daughter, Lauren, called me at work to say she had gone outside to get something in her car and had locked herself out.
"How could you remember to bring your cell phone with you but not your house key?" I asked.
"My phone is more important," Lauren answered.
I happened to be busy doing something inconsequential and told Lauren I would leave as soon as I could. About 10 minutes later, Lauren called back to say that I had left the kitchen window open and that she had climbed through it to get back into the house. Sue later confessed that when she had locked herself out a few weeks before, she also got in through a window I had left open.
This came as a great relief because now there’s a chance that when Sue gets locked out, I won’t have to rush home to let her in. But it also was disconcerting because a burglar could get in and take everything we own, including the house key that Sue would undoubtedly have left inside. And if he doesn’t clean us out, he could always come back and, unlike Sue, use the key to let himself in.
Even worse, if I ever lock myself out and have to climb through an open window, our next-door neighbors would probably see the whole thing, mistake me for a burglar and call the cops.
With my luck, the judge would lock me up. And, for good measure, he’d throw away the key.
Copyright 2007 by Jerry Zezima