I went to a wedding yesterday, so I didn’t write, and I’m “writing” that day off in terms of my daily-day-off blogging.
Today I’m making some points about the upside down of society. Locks are designed to keep the other out; not wearing your pajamas is designed to keep you looking respectable; Sunday’s are designed to be peaceful quiet days and goddamn bras are designed to keep you from being knocked out when you’re riding a bicycle barefoot and in your pajamas. Welcome to my morning.
Instead of having a lock and clothes and shoes and my decency, I locked myself out whilst trying to be productive and do the bins. I had my cutesy over-sized tea stained Spice Girls T-Shirt, and full length winter-white creamy deer pajama trousers from Fatface; and that was it. Forgetting that the door now locks behind me, I’d failed to bring out my keys.
First, I of course hoped it actually hadn’t shut. Second, I hoped someone was about to come through the door. Neither of these things happened, so I had to start actually thinking; I tried the intercom for a couple of my neighbours, as I had left the flat itself open I only needed to accesss the communal hallway. I tried the backdoor, but it was steadfastly and diligently shut. I tried all the other neighbours. I got nowhere.
Taking stock of your options when you have literally only two items of clothing which you are currently wearing is pretty quick. You can’t ring anyone, you would have to ask a stranger. You also can’t check anything on any websites, without again asking a stranger. You can’t walk anywhere far, because you have no shoes, and also look completely innappropriate, so you’ll be in pain PLUS you’ll be judged. The estate agents that I rent from is just 3 minutes down the road, so that was an option; but could I face walking that distance in front of a busy road and relatively populated high street?
Cursing every single one of the other flat residents for not being in or being incapable of answering their remote control doorbells, I courageously made the trip only to then remember it was sunday, and it was of course shut, meaning I had to trudge all the way back, past the cars and the people again, back to suare one, i.e my door step.
My boyfriend has keys; eureka? But he was also in town, at work, 20 minutes walk away. I couldn’t ring him, and his break wouldn’t be until 3pm anyway. That would be pretty dangerous, considering the jacket potatoes I put in my oven just before fatally forgetting my keys… and then I remembered my bike, which remains my most important item because it literally rules my life. On a bike, no one can see that you’re wearing your spice girls shirt and your pj bottoms, right??
It did actually make me feel a lot more comfortable, even though I was whizzing past more people than before, because you are slightly hidden on a bike. Then I went over a bump and good lord I realised how important bras are for bike riding, jesus. Self consciously, I continued to make my way towards town, the 10 minute ride being just something I would have to do, like a cersei-style walk/ride of shame for the crime of forgetting my keys… and then I remembered my friends who live 5 minute bike ride away.
Praying that they would be in, I rolled up to their house, bringing my bike with me, because of course, I had no lock. (I don’t lock my bike up, and I keep it in my back garden, which isn’t locked. So shoot me, considering the trouble I get in, I’m happy to continue keeping it in this precarious situation!) When I heard their voices I realised that I almost cried; being on the street on your pajamas alone is a kind of isolating situation, and I hadn’t been able to even text anyone for help or sympathy yet at that point!
Armed with a set of borrowed clothes, bike lock + helmet and small drawstring bag for my pj’s, I left my befuddled and amused friends to go meet my boyfriend, who had now been alerted. The ride into town, with my illfitting helmet, tight vest as a makeshift bra, and VERY short dress (with borrowed panties, the most glamorous request so far today that was not at all embarassing to ask even from a best friend, not at all), should have been pretty uncomfortable, but it was a million times better from shoe-less pajama riding, and I didn’t even need to ask anyone on the other end to look after my bike, cos I now had a lock!
After all this, popping into my boyfriend’s shop and grabbing his keys was a pretty nonchalant affair, I just wanted to get home and rescue my potatoes and stop being the village idiot. As I rode home in my borrowed gear, I felt that it was the height of ridiculousness that such a tiny mistep, mis-action, can push you so firmly down so many rungs on the social ladder so quickly. I’d gone from normal morning, with all my resources, to suddenly desperate and begging from friends, albeit temporarily. Everything was dictated by external factors; that I already keep my bike (and own a bike) outdoors with minimal security, that my friends are lovely (and were in, and own bike parephanalia), and live on the way into town, that the lettings agent was shut because Sunday, that all the neighbours were out/asleep, that wearing sleepwear outside is looked down on and attracts attention, that tarmac is painful to walk on without shoes, that my boyfriend works in town and I can access his workplace at will, all of these things.
If things had been different, my morning would have got back to normal easier and quicker, or alternatively, way less easier and with more difficulty. The flat could have caught fire from the burning jacket potatoes, I could have been forced to borrow a phone from befuddled strangers, I could have spent the entire day in my pajamas but not in my house. I could easily have spent a lot more time curled up on my porch trying to pretend this horrendous and also really stupid situation wasn’t happening to me; and I wouldn’t have blamed “me” if I had. It was an awkward, mildly amusing and embarassing morning, and I did what I could, as anyone else would who made such a silly and stupid mistake.
I think it’s worth thinking about how external factors shape our lives, how there are always ways we are both lucky and unlucky, have options and have them taken away. At the end of the day, all we can do is follow the options we have and hope that we’ve chosen the best one, whether we’re locked out, or the ones holding the spare set of keys.