It was 10.15 last Thursday night. I was driving along the dark streets of Calgary, having just completed one of my (none-too-frequent) stints as a catering superstar. Five minutes from home, it hit me: I didn’t have any keys to get in the house.
I had locked myself out of my own house.
The professor was in Banff with his parents and our boy-children, and I had driven back to Calgary alone, in our non-minivan rental car. He’d given me a single key to get back in the house. A key which did not fit on the rental-car-key-wire-thing. ‘This is going to be trouble,’ I thought to myself as I stared at the unencumbered key lying in one of the car’s compartments.
And, sure enough, it was.
I unlocked the front door and, feeling rather proud of myself, removed the key from the lock rather than just forget it there. (Which I have done before.) And then I placed the key on the ledge of our key rack.
Which is where I left it when I ran out of the house forty-five minutes later to chill wine and plate appetizers.
And so, at a quarter after ten, I had the unpleasant task of figuring out what to do about my predicament. Breaking into the house wasn’t an option, and we don’t have a secret hidden key. Ergo, I would have to call someone at an un-polite hour and beg to sleep on their couch.
Luckily, I had my cell phone. The one that I very rarely use and almost never remember to carry. The one that has all of six phone numbers in ‘contacts’, including the pediatrician’s office and the school office. Which means I had four potentially useful numbers at my disposal.
I swallowed my pride and phone-aversion and dialed the one friend who I knew would still be awake. She didn’t answer her phone. Because people don’t usually answer the phone late at night when they don’t recognize my-number-that-nobody-knows.
I sent her a text message and included my name. (What’s worse than an obscure phone call? A text from a stranger.) I believe her response was ‘I don’t understand’ along with an invitation to rest my pitiful bones in her guest room. It would take me an hour to try and convey the circumstances in a text message, so I drove to her house instead. In a rental car that contained a little suitcase (of the boys’ dirty laundry) and a bag full of plastic recyclables.
I felt homeless.