October 02, 2011


I was sitting at my desk this morning, grading papers, when I heard a thumping noise. The sound came from upstairs. I took a bite of chocolate and another sip of hot tea. Then I moved to the next paper. When I’m grading, I try to ignore the sounds of the household. 

The thuds continued. I figured it was probably Boy-in-Black doing his exercises. He’s got this whole routine he does before he takes a shower. When he jumps rope, it’s pretty loud. I graded another paper. Then I heard Boy-in-Black’s voice, yelling from the living room in an exasperated way, “Hey, what the fuck are you doing up there?”

There was no answer from upstairs. But the noise continued, loud bangs as if someone was kicking the wall. I stepped out of my office and looked into the living room. Boy-in-Black was on the couch, doing something on his computer, a laptop that’s bigger than most people’s desktop computers. It looks like something you’d see on a spaceship. Shaggy Hair Boy and Smiley Girl were squeezed together on the red chair; they both looked sleepy.

I went back into my office and graded another paper.

The thumping noise continued. It sounded a bit like someone hammering. I glanced out the window but my husband’s vehicle wasn’t in the driveway, which meant he wasn’t even home. I graded another paper.

It was my daughter who finally went upstairs to see what the thumping noise was. I heard her yell from the top of the stairs. “Hey! With-a-Why is locked in the bathroom!”

What? That got us all up from our chairs.  

We crowded around the locked bathroom door. “Why didn’t you yell something?” I asked through the door.

“I did,” he said. “You must not have heard me. I’ve been banging on the door forever.”

I grabbed a screwdriver to start removing the door handle.

“I can’t believe we all just ignored it,” Shaggy Hair Boy said.

“Why didn’t you use Morse code?” I asked With-a-Why when he finally emerged from the bathroom.. “Why did we bother learning it?”

He looked at me. “Like any of you would have paid attention?”

"The thumps were too rhythmical," said my daughter. "They didn't sound frantic. But then I thought, I wonder why he's kicking the door like that."

“I better I could yell loud enough to make you all come running,” said Shaggy Hair Boy. So we tried it. We locked him in the bathroom and all went back downstairs. Then he let out a high-pitched scream that made it sound like one of the cats had put her claws into his throat. 

Yep. We would have responded to that.


Lilian said...

wow... how interesting! I guess With-A-Why is not the screaming type, right? Your quiet, shy boy. I'm glad your daughter went up to check what the racket was!

Talking about cats, one of these days you'll get an email from me asking about yours... ;)

kathy a. said...

ok, then. maybe your family is normal after all. (meaning, imperfect.) all is well, especially since with-a-why got out safely. ;)

kathy a. said...

it is really funny that he made you all learn morse code, then didn't use it. and also, shaggy's alternate rescue call. (show off!)

jo(e) said...

As he later pointed out, banging SOS in Morse code would be too rhythmic. We probably would have ignored it.

All of us have the ability to concentrate intently on the task in front of us, ignoring everything that's happening around us. This trait can be handy for getting work done in a noisy household. But it doesn't work so well in a situation like this ....

Seeking Solace said...

We would have used the ghetto intercom in my house. That's screming to the rest of the world.

Funny thing, my co-workers and I use the ghetto intercom at work too. :)

Magpie said...

years ago, my mother took my two siblings to France for a couple of weeks. one of the stories that got retold over and over was about the time my mother got locked in the hotel bathroom - and her two horrid children just laughed and laughed on the floor outside the door.

Jeff said...

Does the door lock from the inside or was the lock/door knob stuck?

jo(e) said...

It locks from the inside, but it was broken.

Jeff said...

Ah, similar thing happened to us a few years back when a 3 year old locked himself in our guest bathroom. The lock was installed incorrectly so we couldn't open it from the outside, nor unscrew the knob open. Ad the poor guy couldn't figure out how to undo it.

We ended up using a circular type of saw which cut a circle in the door so we could reach in and unlock it. That sounds rash but the saw never punctured the other end and with the hinges on the inside the only other alternative was battering the door frame or punching out the lock which could have harmed the tyke more.

Lomagirl said...

Blogger isn't letting me comment,today!
I've been trying to say- What made me really laugh is that you locked SHB into the bathroom as a complete re-creation of the event, rather than just closing the door. That's attention to detail!

jo(e) said...

Jeff: Once when my daughter was very young, she locked herself into a bathroom at a family party. The door handle was different than the ones we had at our house. I was panicky and wanted to just break down the door or do something dramatic like that, but my youngest sister said, "No. We can teach her to open it." She knelt down next to the door and very calmly talked to my daughter through the door. And sure enough, my daughter did unlock the door herself.

jo(e) said...

Lomagirl: Yeah, blogger has been acting up lately! It's been giving me attitude.

Sharon From the Creek said...

LMAO! MY son scream/squeels like a girl so OFTEN that I would not even think twice about it! I have locked my self in many bathrooms, and no one has ever saved me. Had to learn to do it myself!

kathy a. said...

we have the kind of doorknobs where you can put a little thin screwdrivery thing through a hole in the front and unlock it. but the mechanisms never broke.

my parents once locked themselves in a sauna room on vacation. it had a very heavy door and was down the hall from everything, so nobody heard them. they had left me in charge of 3 sibs, and i guess they must have been gone a long time, because we went looking for them and discovered the problem. (this was in the olden days, before the internet and cable TV, so maybe they weren't actually gone all that long before we went looking....)

OneTiredEma said...

Do you all know Morse code?

How very Cheaper by the Dozen! (In a good way.)