Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Get Locked Out, But I Get In Again

No keys are needed to have access to a view like this.

In the past year I’ve had two unfortunate experiences here in Samoa with getting locked out, and getting locked in. Let’s start with the locked out story, which happened just last week.

It was Wednesday, and I had just gotten home around 6p.m. after a long day and just wanted to eat and go to bed. I decided to go across the road to the store to get some bread. When I got over there a pack of dogs came after me and I fended them off by using my key chain lanyard. When I did that, I was unaware that part of the lanyard had come off and it happened to be the part that held the keys. By the time I discovered that, the dogs had already picked up the keys and ran away with them somewhere on the surrounding property. I spent 20 minutes looking around for them, as well as my neighbors who came out to help. Finally dark set in and I had to give up.

Luckily, I have two doors to the house, so I was able to get the spare set of keys from a neighbor. However, the door that I had lost the keys to is my main access door and I didn’t have any spare keys for that door, so the next day I was forced to go and buy a whole new doorknob!

The really disappointing part of the whole story is that the store didn’t have any bread that night, so my trip ended up costing me 35.00 tala, the price of the new doorknob.

The next story is a locked in story! I was able to find out what it feels like to be on house arrest. Last year when I was still living in my old house, I was getting ready for school on a cool, windy and rainy morning. I went into the bathroom to shave and while I was in there, the wind blew my bathroom door shut. Although I loved my house dearly, it had a few drawbacks, like there not being a handle on the bathroom door, although it did have a lock and latch. After the door blew shut with a huge slam, my heart sank for a minute. I thought that I had heard the lock catch!

Sure enough, I was locked in. Not only was I in a locked bathroom, I was in a locked house and since students always come to school late on rainy mornings, which it was. As I’ve said in the past, when it rains in Samoa it rains hard! So despite the fact that I had my neighbors living not 25 yards away from me, no matter how hard I yelled, they couldn’t hear me with the rain pounding down on the metal roofs. I ended up having to wait around in there for 45 minutes before anyone came along for me to yell at.

One of my year 8 students, Luisa was the first one I saw, and I yelled at her to come over to the bathroom window. By that time I had devised a plan! As I said, my house had a few drawbacks, although some turned out to work in my favor. There was a small crack near the water pipe for the toilet that went through the cement wall from the outside. I told Luisa to go to Milo’s house next door and get a knife to pass through the crack so that I could unjam the lock on the door. By the time she came back there were a handful of students outside my house laughing at the situation, and I had a pretty good laugh too. The idea worked and I was set free with little psychological damage.

I guess all this locking in and locking out got me thinking about the song by Chumbawamba, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, no you’re never gonna keep me down.” My new lyrics to that song are, 1st verse: “I get locked out, but I get in again, no you’re never gonna keep me out.” 2nd verse: “I get locked in, but I get out again, no you’re never gonna keep me in.”

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