EXPAT DRAMA: TRAPPED (AGAIN) IN THE BATHROOM

by missfootloose on November 6, 2010 · 35 comments

in And So It Goes, Armenia, Expat life, Humor

The expat life has its dramas, crises, traumas, and adventures, some more exciting than others. Did you read last week’s tale of my getting trapped in the toilet of a restaurant in tropical Ghana?  You should!

Photo by mirsasha

Anyway, now fast-forward a few months and you’ll find me newly arrived in Armenia, a small country huddled in the Caucasus Mountains where they eat a lot of yogurt, stare at foreigners, and dance with their hands twirling up in the air.  None of this is neither here nor there in terms of this story, but I thought you’d like to know.  On with it.

The bathroom in which my second crise de toilette takes place is the bathroom of our very own little yellow house, the one we moved into only the day before. It’s nice, cozy and warm.  Outside it is arctic.

It’s early morning and my mate is about to leave for the office for a day of toil.  I go into the bathroom and lock the door.  I don’t know why I lock the door, since it’s just the two of us.  It must be that this is a new place and when finding oneself in an unfamiliar place one would obviously lock the loo door when planning private bodily functions. Well, assuming one is a properly brought up person and not a deviant of some sort.

So, when done with bodily functions, I try to unlock the door, but fail.  It’s not the door itself, but the lock.  It’s a slide and it refuses to do what it is created to do: slide.  I push harder.  Nothing.  I work and maneuver it in various ways, but it won’t budge even a smidgen.

So I pound on the door and call out for my prince to come and rescue me.  How he’ll do that I have no idea, but he’s the guy and he should have the answers, don’t you agree? Unfortunately my man does not hear me because I’ve been a busy bee early on and the washing machine, located in the bathroom, is lustily spinning its little European heart out and making a horrendous racket.  I turn off the machine and pound on the door some more.  He still doesn’t hear me right away because he’s lost in the joy of politics watching BBC on TV.

However, eventually there he is, on the other side of the door.  We push and pull to no avail. I can’t find anything hard in the bathroom to bang the slide with.  My better half slides a knife under the door, but I can’t do anything with it.  A screw driver would work to take the whole blasted thing off, but the ones we own are still sailing the high seas in our shipment, and a screw driver wouldn’t fit under the door anyway.

So, we contemplate the window.  Which is prettily decorated with ice flowers.

Photo by Miia Havusalmi

Unfortunately it is also adorned with burglar proofing, so I cannot escape through there.  Not that I’d know how to get down because we’re on the second floor of the building here and we own no ladder.  And even if we had a ladder, we couldn’t position it safely because stairs run up along the outside wall.

I am trapped behind bars. Oh, the melodrama!

I could lower the belt of my mate’s bathrobe out of the window and then he could tie a screw driver to it and I could fish it up through the bars.  But how to obtain a screw driver?  From the nervous, trembling old lady living in the basement apartment? She speaks no English, and we speak no Armenian, and would she even own one?

It all seems so hopeless, but think, it could even be worse than hopeless:  Imagine if my spouse would have already left for work.  I’d be here all alone, all day, without food, without wine.  Incarcerated behind bars with only water and not even bread.  Now at least he can keep me company and give me comfort from behind the other side of the door.  But still, no food and no wine to sustain me through this crisis.

Last resort is of course for my man to go to the office and ask one of the Armenians there for assistance.  I can see it now, the new big boss from America asking for help because his wife is locked in the toilet.

In desperation, I try the lock one more time, and why and how I don’t know, but I end up pulling the little slide knob toward me, outward, and feel something budge in the inner workings of the contraption.  Bingo!  The slide moves sideways as long as I keep the knob pulled out toward me at the same time.  Maybe I have led a sheltered life, but I don’t remember encountering a gadget like this before. But I am free!  I fall into my beloved’s arms.  He kisses me and runs off to work.  Well, so it goes.

I’d better put a sign over the damn thing so guests won’t get themselves locked in. Dear Guest:  Worry not!  You are not trapped!  Simply first pull the little knob out toward you, then slide it sideways at the same time.

Time has passed since the two traumatic occasions of my being trapped in sanitary facilities.  However, you know how the saying goes: Three’s the charm.

I live in fear.

* * *

Do you have any fun tales of spending time locked up somewhere?  Bathroom, bedroom, closet, prison?   Okay, forget prison.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Kostalas November 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

Why do I love the little personal stories like this so much more than conventional travelogue? Brilliant. My weirdest toilet story was in India when you asked where the loos were. You were handed a key and I kid you not, a dwarf had to escort you to a building in the woods. When my husband was in there – there was a power cut . It was like something out of a demented fairy tale.
Love your blog.
Anne

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missfootloose November 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

What an experience — should make an interesting scene in a (demented fairy tale) movie, dwarf and all. Glad you like my stories!

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Lady Fi November 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Oh, there’s nothing worse than being locked in the loo!

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missfootloose November 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I’m not sure about that! At least you have the loo, and water. Well, in some loos, anyway; I’ve know a few where water was not part of the arrangement.

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Mara November 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Now that’s the good thing about my bathroom: I can’t even lock it, so no danger of getting locked in (which in my case would require the police to break down the door when I am starving after a week since I live alone (and no, I don’t bring the phone to the bathroom)).

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Perhaps just store a crowbar or a screwdriver in the cabinet.

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GutsyWriter November 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Sorry, but I only have the elevator story. This took place in a resort in Cancun where three females, including me, were stuck for fifteen minutes. The weird part was I though I would panic, and ended up soothing the fears of the other two.

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Being stuck in an elevator could be cause for hysteria. but as you found out, sometimes you don’t react the way you think you would. I’d rather be stuck in a bathroom!

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Ballerina Girl November 7, 2010 at 7:18 am

Hi!
I am so glad you found me. How did you find me? Just curious! 🙂
Now we can follow each other’s crazy stories of living around the world!
Great story of the loo…I think that I would have been stuck because my husband usually leaves much earlier than I go to the bathroom, hahahaha

BG

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Hi Ballerina girl, nice to see you here. I found you on someone else’s blog, maybe a comment you made? Can’t remember!

Glad you have no traumatic bathroom stories. Of course, there is time 😉

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Dedene November 7, 2010 at 10:35 am

I thought it was only me that got locked into small spaces like that. How embarrasing! How funny!
Thanks for coming by and visiting my blog!

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Whenever something embarrassing or weird happens to me, I try to think that surely, it must have happened to other people as well. Just to comfort myself. And I expect it’s probably true!

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Walter Knight November 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Poor babe, trapped without even wine?

That is hard to top. I was once driving on a logging road in the middle of a forest. The owner of the property, to deter cedar tree thefts, dug a ditch across the logging road while I was still up the road.

Loggers had to pull my car over a mountain of dirt and across a ditch with a cable to ge tme out.

Why was I there in the first place? It was my job to investigate the thefts. It was also my idea to block the road, but I did not think it would be done so soon.

I did eventually catch the bad guys.

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm

What a story! What if the crew had already left? What if you had no phone? You could have been stuck in the woods there for a long time! Thanks for sharing!

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Madame DeFarge November 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm

It’s a wonder that you can ever go anywhere at all after all these problems. I’d be petrified.

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm

As I said: I live in fear. Actually, the real truth is that I never even think about it.

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maria altobelli November 8, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Don’t worry, Miss Footloose, about three being the charm. The secret, me thinks, to avoid living in fear is to take wine and food into the bathroom each time.

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missfootloose November 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Good idea, as long as it’s your own bathroom. But what if I’m somewhere at the end of the world, in the back of beyond . . .

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maria altobelli November 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm

In my experience, bathrooms “at the end of the world, in the back of beyond” don’t have doors that lock. They usually don’t even have doors.

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Erin Owen November 10, 2010 at 11:53 am

This made me laugh out loud! I have to say while this has never happened to me yet (I say *yet* because something like that is bound to happen sometime in Egypt.)

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missfootloose November 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm

And when it does happen, I hope it is in a nice clean place! I’m worried about my third time, surely to come up 😉

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sablonneuse November 10, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Hi, I came over via G-G. Loved your loo stories:thanks for a good laugh.

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MaryWitzl November 11, 2010 at 5:57 am

Thank you for another one of these great stories — I come here for my dose of humor in the morning and I’m never let down. Wouldn’t ‘Toilet Tales from Around the World’ make a great anthology? Perhaps it’s been done before, but not like you could do it.

I once spent a month traveling around Korea, at a time when almost all of the toilets were the squat type. The second week I was there, I hurt my knee climbing a mountain and at about the same time, I picked up a bug that wreaked havoc with my digestion. It was no joke having to hobble to the toilet dozens of times a day and then go through agony trying to squat with a bad knee. I felt like one of those Russian dancers trying to hunker down with one leg stretched out straight and the other bent.

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missfootloose November 17, 2010 at 10:03 am

I’m glad I’m able to entertain you! Toilet Tales from Around the World might well be a book / anthology to consider, although Travelers Tales has a book called There’s No toilet Paper on the Road Less Traveled. Haven’t read it, though 😉

Your experience in Korea was not of the humorous variety, especially since you were not a trained Kozak dancer. Ouch.

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Laural Out Loud November 11, 2010 at 11:07 am

Twice! And I hope it happens a third time, because you’re stories are so fun to read!

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missfootloose November 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

Shame on you 😉

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Princess Jihan November 11, 2010 at 5:28 pm

wow, for me its the opposite, I always get locked out of my bedroom, when I really need to go in. And I end up having to sleep on the sofa or wearing something from my mom to get to work. And look weirder than I normally do all day.

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missfootloose November 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

Getting ocked in, locked out — it makes you wonder what’s in our genes to be disposed to these misadventures. As long a you are not alone in the house, place, wherever!

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guyana gyal November 13, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I was once locked in a loo in England, on the way to Leeds Castle. It was an inn / restaurant kind of place, very old building. My mother, sister, cousin, her then fiancé, were downstairs, far from me. I’d forgotten that I should slide the bolt TOWARDS me, instead of away from me, to open it. PANIC.

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missfootloose November 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

Amazing how these simple devices can terrorize us in this high tech world!

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Judy November 13, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I locked myself out on my balcony in a Dubai summer. No phone, no water, no shade and 45C. No fun! Fortunately I was only on the 4th floor and managed to hail a passing workman below who got building security to use their pass key to my apartment to free me. God knows what would have happened if I’d been on the 30th floor. By the time DH came home I’d have been nothing more than a dried-up puddle.

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missfootloose November 17, 2010 at 9:50 am

Now that is quite a story! Very scary indeed. If you’d been on the 30th floor, could you have broken a window to get back inside? Yikes, I don’t want to think about the awfulness of being up that high in 45 degrees C!

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MartyrMom November 14, 2010 at 9:09 am

Bathrooms are the scariest to be locked in….well maybe an elevator would be worse….Our b/r has a pocket door. I’ve gotten stuck in there several times. It has the ability to fall off it’s track more often than not. There is no way to get it back on from the inside. I’ve kicked my way out before. The Engineer gets upset when I do that……….he finally fixed it.

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missfootloose November 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

I know about those sliding doors. My son used to get himself trapped in his room. About scary: Read the comment above. I think the scariest would be trapped on a balcony on the 30th floor of an apartment building in desert heat of 45 C / 109 F !

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Kelly November 18, 2010 at 1:11 am

What a perilous tale! Of course, being locked in the bathroom is bad – but I think it’s almost as bad being locked out when you desperately need in! Which somehow seems to happen around here fairly often.

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