I'd spent four glorious days and nights in London and was off for a three-day jaunt through South Wales. The evening before I'd spoken with my Welsh friend, Klem, and made arrangements to meet him in the early evening and to meet his friend, Amy, for a tour of Bath in the afternoon where I could switch trains. I was then to meet Klem and a gaggle of Welsh hippies and journey to a hippie commune and stay in a yurt. Unfortunately the night before my London host, John the Scottish Bastard, had decided to pull out all the stops on our budding affair and I became a complete brainless idiot when leaving the flat in the morning. I forgot to do a full check of my belongings (like a wallet), before walking out of the self-locking door.
Here's the actual journal entry scribbled on the last train to Brigend that evening, after just passing Bristol:
Absolute nightmare of a day, I suppose to offset the wonderfulness of last night [Editor's Note: BARF!]. Am presently en route to Brigend, was supposed to have arrived an hour and a half ago after spending the day in Bath. Due to locking wallet in flat on way to train station, spent morning walking to London as didn't have more than £4 in pocket and feared getting back. More on that later...Apparently I was also too twitterpated at the time to describe the eight miles of South London I experienced. As I recall, it was basically like walking through the World Showcase at Epcot Center, except I don't remember any Canadians.
[Editor's Note: No one ever needs to read the sappy romance novel description of my evening in London that is described in between these passages]
...Guess my head was too in the clouds this morning because I locked my wallet, as mentioned earlier. Walked nearly 8 miles, but was not sure if wallet was in flat or fell out of pocket. [Editor's Note: it was in the flat. I walked to retrieve the keys from John at work. He was in a meeting when I'd spent some of my spare change on a phone call.] Then had to return keys back to Tower Place before heading to Paddington to get first train out. Hope much that Klem got voicemails. If not, hope mood is not pissed off when I arrive 2 1/2 hours late. Also -- hope someone is there.
...Arrived in Brigend on a dark, rainy night Tuesday night. Slowly the few travelers from my train found their rides and I stood hopeful and anxious looking for any signs of my companions. After about 1/2 an hour of being asked if I needed a taxi, I called Klem, who thought that was the original plan. He instructed me to take a cab to a pub called The Pelican in Ogmore-by-Sea. The driver told me "My missus was born there" and pointed out some local features that were enveloped in darkness as we pased. The "village" or wherever I was dropped off was this pub and a couple odd cottages scattered about. Save for the electric lighting and cars in the carpark, I wouldn't have thought I was still in this century. Walked inside weighted down by my large red backpack. No sign of Klem. Decided to grab a pint while I waited. Asked if they had a phone. Of course not. The elfin bartender offered me the use of his mobile, but I passed for the meantime and opted for a Guinness. Klem arrived as the head on my beer settled. He got a pint and we grabbed a table and caught up for a bit. I felt terrible because he had gone to the station at 4 and I was discovering to get to town was no easy feat...I ended up staying with Klem's family instead of at the commune, which worked out just fine. True I'll never be able to stay that I slept in a yurt in the Welsh countryside, but not many people can stay they slept in a 400-year-old farmhouse with warming stones placed in their antique sofa bed.
#2. Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - Brewers Hill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Frantically trying to get my laundry done so I could pack for my big trip to Coachella Music & Arts Festival the next evening, my mind was going about 15 different directions. I took a shower and just threw on my robe to go grab my last load out, well after midnight. I'd been waiting for the critical socks and underwear supply to finish so I could go to bed. My roommate, Maribeth, was over at her boyfriend's house that night, so I had the music blaring and could walk around in my robe unawkwardly. Since it was so late I decided no one else in my building would see me if I scooted across the hall in the robe either.
Well I didn't account for the fact that I failed to check the lock on our self-locking door and dropped my laundry basket in horror as the handle refused to turn. Yeah, I was pretty much naked in the hallway. Luckily I had some shorts and a tiny tank top mixed in with the sock load and changed in the laundry room, keeping the robe on as cover. I wandered to our lobby and waited for the first person to pass. Of course my phone and everything was in the apartment. Regardless, I knew no one's number by heart except that of my boyfriend at the time, Phil. I only knew the area code on Mar's number and that wasn't going to do me any good. Some poor guy getting home late lent me his cell and I called Phil, who miraculously picked up. He took a cab over (he didn't have a car either) and we went to his house. I called work and scheduled a couple hours of personal time in the morning.
I walked home the next morning in a hodgepodge of Phil's clothes and his boots. The plan was to wait for the office to open at 8:30 or hope that Maribeth stopped home before then. I got in the building when someone was leaving for work and camped out in front of our door, with my forgotten laundry, listening to my alarm clock beeping on the other side of the wall. Mar sympathetically shook her head and let me back in when she arrived around 7:30. I hastily packed and hauled ass to work to get something done before my early evening flight. I ran home at 4:30, grabbed my bags and went with my friend Keiker to the airport. Flew to Minneapolis and was boarding the flight to LA listenening to guys behind me talk about Coachella when it hit me. The thought was like the movie zoom-in, with DA DUM DA in my head. MY TICKETS!! On my bulletin board in my bedroom. Called Maribeth before take off and had her FedEx them to the condo we were staying at. Had to buy a scalper ticket for Friday because it was too late to get overnight. $80 for the scalper ticket and then $60 for the FedEx. One expensive lockout, or so I have always believed, until...
#3. Friday, February 20, 2009 - Downtown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I'd spent the whole evening cleaning and primping in anticipation. I was meeting friends at the MAM After Dark / Cedar Block event, and one particular friend I was particularly looking forward to seeing. So focused on not having my apartment like a craphole I lugged three bags of garbage and two boxes to recycle out the self-locking backdoor and slammed it shut. Damn I looked fabulous locked out this time. Again without a phone or cash.
My helpful neighbor tried to get the apartment manager's number for me, but it didn't work. I tried getting in my front door, but no luck. Luckily my friend Mandi was waiting for me at Buckley's and we called her friend to get a locksmith number. The turnaround time was less than half hour for someone to come out, but $180 later (and only $80 allowed to put on my credit card, they were real shady about being paid in cash -- later Googling shows that Dependable Locks is one big scam. DAMMIT) I finally got back into my apartment.
My "A" game was gone by the time I got the museum, but ended up having a fabulous weekend anyway -- and a great conversation piece to carry me through.
Lessons learned: Self-locking doors are evil, boys are distracting and give your friends a spare key.