Just Call Me Bob Vila — In a Prison Jumpsuit
This is a long one, but it’s really two stories in one, so bear with me.
So about a month ago, we had a slight bathroom emergency. Twice. The first time was relatively late on a Friday night, Tony had went into the bathroom and several minutes later, I heard him pounding and yelling that he couldn’t get out. Now, both of us having had a few beers, I figured he had simply lost the ability to turn the knob (not giving him a lot of credit, admittedly.) He finally got it open and the incident was forgotten.
Until two nights later, when he had taken a Tylenol PM at about 10:30 and I decided to stay up, Around 2:00 AM, I went into the bathroom, did my business, and tried to leave. No such luck. Can’t get the doorknob to turn for anything. So I tried a few more times, banged on the door, laughed at myself a little bit. Tried again. Nothing. Now I’m thinking, okay, my husband has taken a fistful of Tylenol PM, it’s two in the morning, and I’m trapped in my own goddamn bathroom. So I start pounding on the wall, which is connected to our bedroom, in hopes of disturbing the peaceful sleep of my husband. “TONY!! WAKE UP!! LOCKED IN THE BATHROOM!! HELP!!”
Response? Nothing at first, and then after my insistent beating, a “Uh, okay.” And I can literally HEAR him roll back over, blissfully unaware of his wife trapped in a 10×10 cell mere feet away. Now I go MacGyver and unscrew the doorknob with my tweezers, thinking perhaps I can jiggle the handle with my hands. Genius, yes? Not so much. Am now locked in a bathroom with no fucking doorknob.
“NO!! DON’T ROLL OVER!! I’M TRAPPED IN THE BATHROOM!!!” Long story short, he finally wakes up, pries the door open with a hammer and god knows what, and I’m FREE!!! Woo hoo!
I call my landlord the next morning, who I’m sure was curious as to why I’m locking a bathroom door in the middle of the night when the only other person that lives here is my husband — fyi, I didn’t lock it, the damn thing just got stuck — and he says to call drunk neighbor upstairs, also known as the maintenance guy. He’s only the maintenance guy cause he gets a couple bucks knocked off his rent for doing work around the building, and the last time he came by to “fix” something, he drank three of our beers and spewed the contents of our clogged kitchen sink across the apartment. My confidence in him is low.
But whatever, that’s what I’ve got. So I mentioned it to him, he said he’d come down to fix it. A week went by, nothing. Mentioned it again — and I should mention, my landlord’s cool, if I’d called him about it again, he would have made sure it was fixed. But every time I saw drunk neighbor, I had no interest in having him in my apartment, as he tends to stay awhile. So, being the ghetto superstars we are, we solved the problem by taping a piece of cardboard over the hole where the doorknob should be, and keeping the door closed by jamming a pen in the hole.
Then we went on vacation, and somehow it’s been three weeks. So today, I had the day off of school and no work to do, so I decided to take the problem into my own hands. I take my walk to Wal-Mart, purchase a doorknob that promises “easy installation” for eight dollars, and I’m on my merry way. I talked to my friend Kelly, and she tells me that this is not as easy as it seems, but whatever. I put up blinds with a SCREWDRIVER while on a swivel chair by myself, I’ve built shelves, I replaced the wheels on the screen door last summer (Tony does the everyday stuff like laundry and dishes, as I would never make it as a housewife but am good at fixing things, for the most part,) surely I can put on a doorknob?
So I get home, start trying to figure out the doorknob pieces, which have no instructions. Well, for eight bucks at Wal-Mart, I guess you can’t expect instructions, right? First off, the middle piece that attaches the two sides of the doorknob doesn’t fit in the hole in the door. Being Miss Resourceful, I gouge some more of the wood out with a knife and a razor blade, most likely ruining the door for any other doorknob, but whatever. Fix my shit and I won’t make things worse. And yay! It fits.
Again making a long story short, it appears that not only am I missing directions, but two screws. So I go back to cesspool Wal-Mart, very nicely ask a person if it would be okay if I look in a box to see if I am, indeed, missing screws. He lets me, and sure enough, the other box not only has two more screws, but directions. So I ask what can I do now? He tells me that I will need to purchase another doorknob. Scuse? I don’t think so. His reasoning was that there’s no way they can know that the box didn’t have the screws when I bought it. Well, SIR, I didn’t know that I was missing screws because I was also missing fucking DIRECTIONS, which would have given me this information. So I nod and smile, and he walks away.
I walk around the hell that is Wal-Mart for awhile, walk back to the doorknobs, open up the box that has my special screws in it, discreetly open the bag and palm the forbidden screws and walk out. Felon! Me, who has never stolen as much as a pack of gum. Is anyone else surprised that with my luck, I wasn’t arrested immediately?
So I now have a new doorknob. Sure, it only opens if you turn it to the right, but it’s a hell of a lot better than a pen.