Our regular readers will see the title and assume that this post won't literally be about locking myself in the bathroom.
Instead, I must report to you that I locked myself in a bathroom stall for thirty minutes today.
I sat down to do my business in a stall which was more like a closet than a true bathroom 'stall.' It has a full-size closet door on it, and I happily swung it shut and went about answering nature's call. I didn't notice that there was no door handle until I was all zipped up and ready to go back to my classroom.
I banged on the door, I banged on the walls, I cupped my hands and shouted for help. No one appeared. I tried signaling someone with hoots and hollers for about ten minutes. I couldn't tell if anyone could hear me or not, but since no one had come, I set about surveying what meager resources were at hand.
I was standing in front of a closed door with no handle in a 5x7 closet with a toilet in it. In my pockets: a usb flash drive, two folded up class lists and a broken rubber band. At eye level was a two-pronged coat hook secured to the door with two screws. I gripped the hook, steeled myself, and ripped the hook out of the door, screws and all.
I put the screws in my pocket and tried to wedge the hook into the cavity where the handle should have been. I applied pressure and turned the hook, but it was too thin to rotate the latch mechanism.
Then, I thought of a different approach and took one of the screws out of my pocket. I placed the screw end of the screw against the bottom of the hinge pin near the top of the door. I smashed the metal base of the coat hook repeatedly against the head of the screw, trying to drive the hinge pin upward so that I could unhinge the door from its frame.
After ten or fifteen good smacks, it was clear I wasn't getting anywhere. Then I banged on the door some more and shouted some more. I think I felt a little panic at this point, even though I knew I was in a building full of other people in the middle of the day and that I wouldn't be trapped forever.
So I got desperate. I knew my best chance of getting out was to find something that would fit in the door handle socket to open the latch. So I pulled the top off of the toilet. Inside, I found the plastic float, the pipe that fills the top tank with water, and the long metal arm which attaches the former to the latter.
I disconnected the arm from the pipe assembly, unscrewed the plastic float, lined the arm up with the door handle socket and turned. It definitely fit into the socket perfectly, but it was too flimsy to engage the latch. So I pulled it back out of the socket, and folded the pliable metal arm in half. Now it had twice the strength but half the length.
I pushed it into the socket, turned with all my might, and the door quietly unlatched and swung open.
I walked to the sink and began to wash my hands. I caught sight of my watch and realized that I had locked myself in the bathroom for a little over thirty minutes. I looked at myself in the mirror.
Guess what the first thought that came into my head was?
"This will make for a good post tonight."