Thursday, February 13, 2014

Imagine Being Locked Inside Your House

locked in house window bars mexicoGrowing up, there were bars on our basement windows. They were the ones that could be quickly and easily released from the inside, but couldn’t be penetrated from the outside. Even so, I always felt trapped.

Those bars were the main reason why I never moved down to the basement*. Well, it may have also been due to the fact that the room needed a coat of paint first and I like painting about as much as I like bars on the windows. They bothered me. That much.

So here’s the thing about Mexico, everything here has bars. The windows. The doors. The windows in the doors. Everything.

The difference between these bars and the ones in Canada are that these aren’t the quick release kind. In fact, they don’t release at all. However, if you had to get out, you could. Provided you had a few hours and a hacksaw. Doesn’t everyone have a hacksaw?

If you throw in the fact that our front door also has 3 double locks and 2 drop bars, it’s safe to say that no one is coming in. That’s the point isn’t it?

Before you get all worried about a fire, don’t. Everything is made of cement and the Bomberos spend their days collecting money at the side of the road and making house calls to people’s homes to fill up their tinacos. If there’s ever been a fire, we haven’t heard of it.

Generally, I try not to think about the bars.

Except when Ed goes away. Then, I spend every waking moment (literally) worrying that I will be locked OUT of the house. In order to put my mind at ease, I take his set of keys, the only other set next to mine and hide it on the main floor. Our house is a duplex (up/down) so if I needed the keys, I could get them. I would need to gain access to my neighbours roof, scurry across my teja overhang and into the main floor. Don’t ask why we just don’t make an extra set and give it to someone.

This January, when Ed went away, my plan went off without a hitch; I woke up, put the dogs downstairs and hid his keys, went back upstairs, double locked the front door, closed the door to the front room and went about my business. Note that we’d started double locking the door because The Kids had decided it was fun to open the door. Whenever and to whomever. While it’s safe where we live. We have bars on everything for a reason.

A few hours later, my neighbour called for me through the window. We chatted. She headed off. I forgot to mention something to her so I ran to the front door. Tried to open the door but it was locked. No problem. I’ll unlock it. Only, I couldn’t find the keys. They weren’t in the door. The keys were gone.


I started to run from room to room. Frantically crying out “Where are they? Where are the Keys”? Sensing my desperation, Max tried to help out by telling me he’d dropped them outside. OUTSIDE!? I tried to look but it was impossible to see them. The door opens up onto a big step. Down.

I started to count the days until Ed would be back. Seven, eight, nine days. Did I have enough food? Could I last that long locked inside? Not just physically but emotionally.

I was trying to hold it together but I was terrified. Assuming I could get someone on the roads attention, would they understand my Spanish enough to get a Balconero to come and free me?

After what seemed to be 20 minutes but was probably 2, I saw them. On the table. Right where someone had left them.

I was free. Free from this place that I call Home.

Have You Ever Been Locked Inside Your House or Somewhere?

*Note Poppa used to live in the basement when he was a teen. Yes, Poppa grew up in the house that I grew up in and Uncle Andrew still lives in. It’s been in our family since the early 50’s.

24 thoughts on “Imagine Being Locked Inside Your House

  1. Rene

    Wow – very captivating piece. I could feel my heart quicken and was picturing you and the kids sharing the last piece of food between the three of you, wasting away as Ed’s plane is delayed by weather. Glad you made it out OK!!

  2. Sue

    I once locked myself in a small bathroom because I needed a mommy time out when my child was tantruming. Then I was briefly stuck, the knob would not turn. I could have squeezed out the window but the knob finally worked. I was panicked that my kids would be unsupervised for hours, instead only minutes.

  3. francine

    I was locked in the bedroom with my kids. hubby was at work and we were watching tv. (I wasn’t feeling good so I was staying in bed.) now the door knob had been acting up for a while but usually jiggling the know would let it open. but not this time when I really needed it to. I had gotten up out of bed rather quickly trying to run to the toilet. I get to the door and the knob just keeps turning and turning and turning. jiggling the handle isn’t helping and I started to panic. please don’t let me throw up on the carpet. thinking quickly while swallowing acidic bile I grab an old gift card the kids had been playing with and I shove it in the door to try to jimmy it open. success I drop the card and run out of the room just to make it half way to the bathroom and get sick all over the floor which splashed onto the walls. the good news is that it was much easier to clean up than the carpet would have been. we were pretty quick to get a new doorknob though.

  4. AlwaysARedhead

    I was once locked in the bathroom for at least an hour. The lock decided to break while I was in there doing my business. I tried everything to open the darn door, even using tweezers in hope I could take the door handle off. Nope. I was trapped. Now the window points out towards our neighbours house, whom I don’t particularly care for, they weren’t home anyways. So for quite a while I stood there yelling out the window for help. I was getting worried because i had to pick my kids up at school and I was locked in the bathroom. Finally some school girls heard me, and determined I wasn’t a madwoman, but someone genuinely stuck in the bathroom, who went to our other neighbours house, who called my mom, who picked up my kids, and had a key to my house and got me out of the bathroom. I then had my husband change the doorknob that got me in trouble in the first place.
    AlwaysARedhead recently posted…Winter storms and snow angelsMy Profile

  5. Amanda @ The Mommy Mix

    I can’t say that I’ve ever been locked inside my house. I have been locked outside however when my key snapped in the door once. Also when I was a teenager I did sleep in the basement and I had bars in my window.

    Back to your post now… I love this piece it actually had me on the edge if my seat wanting to know what happened. I almost skipped ahead because I couldn’t take the anticipation.

  6. Freda Mans

    Wow, sounds like your house has tons of family history. I’ve never been locked in my house, but when I was small, my mom used to deliver flowers. The people she worked with were a lot of fun, but with me at the flower shop they were more fun. One day, Arlo, shut the door to the flower fridge on me while I was smelling the roses. I started freaking out, as I was only 4 or 5 and unaware of how to get out of the fridge. Looking back now, it was funny. It wasn’t so funny then though and I still feel the terror of thinking I would chill to death in a wonderful smelling flower fridge.

    Freda Mans recently posted…#13: How to Talk to Girls At Parties – Neil GaimanMy Profile

  7. TenaciousC

    When we came out to Vancouver from TO for Expo ’86, we stayed at a nice hotel and the new thing was the card keys for the room. Well, they were so new, ours malfunctioned something in the whole door-lock mechanism (and I might have been monkey-ing around with it) and I managed to lock myself and Laura in the room, while Mom and Dad yelled at us through the door to stop screwing around, and then that maintenance was on the way to free us…..

    I also got my finger stuck in a glass pepsi bottle on that trip…..but that’s another story…… Dad was so embarrassed….

    Glad you got out, I was nervous for you!
    xo C

    1. admin

      Dear TenaciousC,

      With stories of hair cuts, fingers in pop bottles and getting locked in hotel rooms, it’s a wonder we turned out so well. But we did.

      Thanks for reading. I think about you and your family all the time. Hope your (not so new) addition is doing well.

      Besos, Sarah

  8. ashley p

    I did something similar once…we had locks with keys for inside and outside (on both the front door and garage door) I grabbed my purse to go out, and my keys weren’t inside….hubby had gone to work (and for some reason, that morning had locked the garage door when he left, which he never does)…it took me 30 minutes to find my keys (they had fallen out of my purse and were hidden under a jacket)….it wasn’t fun, and the panic I felt was scary…glad you found yours quickly
    ashley p recently posted…Sponsored Post: Never Say Dieting OathMy Profile

    1. admin

      Dear Magnolia,

      Got to watch those chiropractors. They’ve been known to lock kids in basement suites on purpose.

      Besos, Sarah

  9. Debbie S.

    Wow! That was a sitting on the edge of my chair with my mouth agape kind of story! So glad you found the keys finally where somebody put them! My mind was going a hundred miles an hour thinking of what you could do to get help! I would not have done well in that situation!
    I can’t say I’ve ever been locked in , but I live in a household with fellow chronic key losers. We are forever climbing through a window, and my body says it’s getting to old to make some of those aerobatic twists and turns it has to make to maneuver through this particular tiny window!
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  10. Emily Chui

    Oh my goodness that is horrifying, I’ve only been locked inside a bathroom and started panicking because the door was jammed, but even that was terrible!

  11. Jo-Anne Pfoh

    I feel for you. It is funny how adults react differently than children in these situations. As adults all the bad things go through our minds as kids.. well gee I can’t open the door. My son was locked inside the bathroom for an hour. Funny how you try to explain to a 2 year old how to manipulate a lock on a door knob. While we ran around frantically he got bored put a towel in the bathtub and went to sleep gotta love kids. We popped the doorknob off and then spend the day reversing all the knobs in the house so the locks were now on the outside.

  12. HEIDI C.

    I’ve never been locked in my house but I have been locked out and that’s a scary feeling! I’ve also been locked into the bathroom by a mischievous 3 year-old and that was a fright as well!

  13. Elva Roberts

    I was locked in a friend’s barn accidentally when I was a child. I have a fear of enclosed places so I tried not to panic. Soon my frend’s Mothe missed ma and let me out. I can relate to your feelings of Panic. I felt like I was smothering althought it was not a little barn. Hope that doesn’t happen again.

  14. Allan Harmsworth

    I got locked out of my car. I had also left my cell phone in the car so could not call home. Luckily I was in front of the library so called from there, and my mom came by taxi with a spare key. Since that day I have carried extra keys, one in my wallet which is on a chain to my pants, and another in my bag that I carry around. I used the key in my wallet recently as I had lost the bag key (long story) and locked my key chain in my car. I slipped out the wallet key and opened the door. I do not think locks should lock without a key. I used to have a car like that a long time ago.


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