Expat Drama: Trapped (Again) in the Bathroom

by Miss Footloose

The expat life has its dramas, crises, traumas, and adventures, some more exciting than others. Did you read my earlier 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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

Princess Jihan

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.

Laural Out Loud

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

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.… Read more »

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

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.)

maria altobelli

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.

maria altobelli

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.

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

Walter Knight

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… Read more »

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!

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


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.

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)).

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

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.

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