Monday, January 18, 2010

The World's Worst Burglar

I was working at the boutique, by myself as usual. It was a slow day customer-wise but there was no shortage of paperwork and I had a stack of envelopes to mail. To break the monotony that is my sorry-ass job and my sorrier-ass life, I decided to run out to the mailbox on the corner, which I’ve done a thousand times without incident.

Before leaving, I instinctively locked the doorknob from the inside so no one would enter the store and rob us blind. Not that this would be a bad thing however; it might score me a few days off. And maybe they’d steal that God-awful dress that I’m so sick of looking at and that no one is buying because no one wears lumberjack plaid except lumberjacks. And also stereotypical lesbians.

Right after I'd closed the door behind me, still thinking about lesbians and Birkenstocks and why anyone would want to take fashion cues from a mythical figure with a blue ox, I realized I’d made a grave error.

My effing keys were still in the effing store.

It’s the dead of winter here and, as one of my high school boyfriends would say, it’s as cold as a witch’s titty. The temperature rarely rises above freezing this time of year and today was no exception. At first I just stood there in disbelief. Then I became enraged, uttering a few choice phrases that would have made George Carlin blush. And then I just accepted my fate. I would be there until my co-worker arrived, which wouldn’t be for another hour and fifteen minutes.
Stuffing my hands (which by that point I could no longer feel) into my pockets, I felt the holy grail. In my pocket was credit card . (Dirty, dirty boys and girls. I bet you thought "feeling the holy grail" whilst my hands were in my pockets was a masturbatory reference. Under ordinary circumstances, you’d have been right, but not this time.)

There is no question, I am a true hood-rat. Back in the day, my students taught me a thing or two about "hitting a lick". (Look it up, white folks). Believe it or not, these skills have come in useful; I have broken into both houses and cars multiple times and I know a credit card is as good as any key; if I couldn’t get in legitimately, I would bust my way in.

Only I underestimated the quality of this lock. The damn card wouldn’t wedge in all the way. Standing there jamming my credit card into the door, I was quite ashamed of myself…not because I was trying to break into a building, but because I was unable to break into the building. What the fuck is wrong with me? Any hood-rat worth her salt can swipe a simple lock. How embarrassing. I thought of what my kids would think of me if they knew how rusty my jimmy-ing technique had become. I’d dishonored them.

By this time, I could no longer feel my feet and was quickly becoming desperate. Two women approached the store.
"I’m sorry ladies. I’ve locked myself out."
"Oh." The women stared at me blankly. Or maybe it wasn’t a blank expression. I can’t really make out the expressions of over-botoxed, women. "So is anything on sale right now?"

I had failed with the credit card, but there was still a possibility that I could pick the lock, which I’ve done numerous times on interior doors. I’d never used this technique on a front door but ultimately decided that I was raised in the 80s, a decade that left legions of kids well prepared for these exact types of situations. I watched the A-Team. On Knight Rider Michael Knight ran these kinds of rigs in practically every episode. Shit, I’ve seen McGyver do this like a thousand times. I just needed some wires or a bobby pin or something.

Of course I didn’t have a bobby pin the one day I needed it. I always have bobby pins with me to pull my long bangs back from my eyes. But no, I decided not four days earlier that I wanted my bangs to resemble those of Bettie Page. So now I had Bettie Page bangs and no damn bobby pins. Eff you, Bettie Page. Eff your stupid bangs and eff me for liking them.

I scavenged around the ground looking for any litter with lock-picking potential. I gathered my lock-pick stash and commenced with the break-in. For your reference, the following discarded items will not open a locked door: the stick from a blow pop, a long shard of mulch, a plastic cable tie sharpened at the end to resemble a key, a stem from a dead rosebush with the thorns removed, a rusty nail.

I now could not feel my face and was quickly becoming delirious. My nose is running like a faucet. This makes no sense. When it’s cold outside, your nose becomes runnier, but when something is frozen, it becomes harder. So shouldn’t my snot be turning into icicles? Why does snot get runnier in the cold? What if I blew my nose into ice cube trays? Would it freeze? I should do this for the Science Fair. Do they have Science Fairs for adults? I can put one together. And I will research why snot defies the laws of the physical behavior of matter…

I’d been outside in below-freezing temperatures for nearly an hour and a half when my co-worker arrived.

"Why are you standing outside?" she asked, puzzled.
"I locked myself out. But if Bettie Page had longer bangs I would have been able to get in. And also, snot doesn’t change states when exposed to cold temperatures, in case you didn’t know."

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