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MY KINGDOM FOR A KEY

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My Kingdom for a Key

 

The other day, after I unloaded groceries from one of the condo carts, I decided to immediately return the cart to the basement. However, when I got there, I realized that I had left my keys and my cell phone in my unit. Without a key, I couldn’t get back through the basement door, nor could I exit from the adjacent locked parking garage. Without my phone, I couldn’t contact my wife (who was luxuriating in the condo). I found myself caught in another one of my all-too-frequent, self-imposed, minor misadventures.

I guess I could have waited for someone to enter the basement area to let me back in. But I was impatient. I thought I’d have a better chance to reach my condo entrance if I could get to the sidewalk. So I decided to open the unlocked basement back door leading to what I thought was an unlocked, iron barred, sidewalk exit. Not a good choice. I found out that with no key, I was trapped in a much smaller space than before: I couldn’t reenter the basement (where I should have stayed to begin with) because the basement door was locked from the outside, and I couldn’t get to the sidewalk because the gate was locked from the inside.  And I needed to get to the bathroom.

I knew that I could ask a passerby to open the gate (it was unlocked from the outside), as long as he or she could see me through the cage and trusted that I was harmless. The first person I spied was carrying an infant across the street. I shouted to her to help me. Initially, she didn’t notice me, but when she did, she frowned and sped up. Maybe I looked suspicious or downright dangerous to her.

A few moments later, I saw my condo friend Hal whiz by on his motorized wheelchair. Just in time, I shouted out to him. When he backed up and saw me, he good-humoredly grinned at my predicament and let me out of my brief captivity. If it weren’t for Hal, I don’t know how long I would have remained in that claustrophobic toilet-free passageway.

It certainly wasn’t a circle of Hell; I’d rather call it a rectangle of Limbo.

I vowed that I would never leave the condo without my keys— as long as I could find them. Twice this week, I scrounged around for them, only to eventually find them lodged in the outside door to my unit. Once I had managed to leave them in that position overnight. Luckily, my condo building has never been breached. Nonetheless, I need to upgrade my presence of mind to downgrade the presence of stress in my life.

 

 

schlomo
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