Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Bad No. 3

How can a grown man be so stupid that he can lock himself out of his house, even when there's a spare key hidden carefully outside? Just watch me.

I was barefoot and wearing nothing but shorts when the pizza delivery guy showed up with my dinner. I had to step outside to give him my check, show him my ID, tip him, accept the food, etc. I didn't want the cats darting outside to chase lizards, so I shut the security door behind me. And it was locked. And I didn't have my key on me.

When the pizza guy left, I realized my predicament. To get the side yard where the key was hidden, I had to cross my whole front yard, which was covered with pointy little rocks - no grass, just gravel. This is Arizona, remember? One of the selling points of the place was that there was no lawn that I would have to irrigate. Just an aggressive and boundlessly messy bougainvillea, covered with vicious cowhide-piercing thorns, and two palm trees that were constantly trying to make baby palm trees and trailing pieces of fibrous skin; I couldn't kill them if I tried. But they could, and did, drop stuff all over the front yard that posed a hazard, in addition to the gravel, for a barefoot idiot who was locked out of the house.

So I winced and minced my way across the front yard, wrestled the gate open (in two years I never figured out the secret of smoothly opening and closing it), and padded with relief across the soft sand of the side yard. If I had stayed there long enough, and made enough money, I would have replaced all the gravel and sand with paving bricks and planters, but at this point it was still pretty primitive. Pondering paving bricks, I lifted the sombrero off the terra cotta siesta dude and fumbled around inside his body for the hidden key. I touched it with my fingers...oops! It fell into the sand. Bummer!

By now it was quite dark. I was working by the little bit of light coming out of the side windows of the house. I tried to save the key by feeling around in the sand, but it got buried and I got frustrated. So I moved Señor Sombrero and tried to do a more systematic search. No luck.

Conscious of the fact that my pizzas were getting cold, I minced and winced across the gravel front yard again, then crossed the street to a neighbor's house, where I saw light coming out of the open garage. I poked my head in the garage, explained my difficulty, and asked for the loan of a flashlight. The neighbor graciously obliged. I crossed the street on raw feet and tiptoed across the gravel for a third time, before using the flashlight to find my buried key (whew!). Oh, wait. Now I had to mince across the gravel a fourth time to get back to the front door and let myself in the house!

You can bet I put shoes on before returning the flashlight to my neighbor, and my spare key to Señor Sombrero.

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