I have made the usual token 2017 resolutions - lose a few, drink less during the week, be more organised, and so on. One bandwagon I'm not jumping on though, is to be "less connected". I may vow to put the pies down, but not my phone.
This is not because I do everything on my phone; indeed, it's possibly the most under-utilised phone on the planet, with a scant four music albums (do they still call them albums?) and less than half a dozen apps. I'm also not quite at the age where I worry about falling and not being able to get up. No, it's all due to an "incident" in 2016 which has, I swear, scarred me for life.
Despite the fact that I knew the door handle to my downstairs loo was on the dodgy side, - its replacement was patiently sitting on the kitchen table awaiting installation, - a few months ago I used said loo, and locked the door. When I was ready to exit, I pulled out the pin that masquerades as the locking device, and it came clean out of the lock. Undeterred, (as this was the aforementioned "dodginess"), I casually re-inserted the pin, screwed it in a few times and gently pulled again. Nothing. Never suspecting an elevated degree of "dodge", I then went for the door knob and rotated...... and rotated.........and rotated.
You know that phrase "My stomach leapt"? Or perhaps "My heart sank"? Or even "A sweaty panic washed over me"? (Made that one up so you probably don't). Well, all of those happened concurrently. I seemed to be locked in the loo. I went through the motions of re-inserting the locking pin, first with a marked degree of gentleness, then firmness then unhinged jabbing, poking and pulling. Still, the door knob rotated to no effect. At this point I heard myself half-sobbing/half-yelling "No, no, no" as I yanked at it.
You should know that my husband was out of town, my oldest two children have fled the nest and my then twelve-year-old was due home at 3.30pm and wouldn't know what was going on. He would ring the doorbell and get no answer. (He would also forget that he had a key in the "secret pocket" of his school bag). He might perhaps get his phone out to find out where I was, but guess whose phone was sitting on the kitchen table next to the replacement door knob?None of our neighbours would be around, so there was nowhere to get help unless it occurred to him to go back to school.
Oh and did I mention it was only 12.30pm? As a friend later reminded me, "If you're going to get locked in a room for any length of time it might as well be one where there's fresh running water and a toilet" (Bloody Pollyanna Americans for you). I contemplated taking the door off its hinges but really, who was I kidding? I then decided I was prepared to ruin the door and/or the hinges in a bid for freedom, but again, who was I kidding? I couldn't inflict much damage with a soft bristle tooth brush and a packet of dental floss. All was lost. I then gave one more push of the stupid pin, rotated the stupid knob and heard a click. As gingerly as a bomb defuser, I rotated the knob again and - the door opened.
You know that phrase "I fell to my knees"? I am not one for routine attacks of the vapours, Bronte-style, but this time I literally couldn't stand up, such was the relief.
So yes, even though the lock has been replaced with a fully-functioning version, I will now take my phone everywhere, even to the loo and even when there are others in the house, since calls for help would probably fall on deaf (ie. headphoned) ears. When there's no one in the house, I unabashedly pee with the door open, such is my fear of a repeat incarceration. I'm sure at some point I'll be caught on the throne under the erroneous assumption that there's no one else around, but in my books - better safe than dying or being traumatised for life all over again.