jump to navigation

The Dangers of Living Alone: Doorknob Edition September 27, 2018

Posted by Onely in Uncategorized.

Gold_doorknob_cropWelcome to the latest installment in our series “The Dangers of Living Alone”.  Although living alone is a privilege, it also brings serious risks–as described in this earlier post, where Christina encountered terror in the toilet. That same bathroom terrorized Christina again just recently, as described below. We hope you can learn from her mistakes.

I never imagined I would hear myself thinking those words, but there they were, loud in my head:

I may have to kick down this door. I may have to kick down this door. I may have to kick down this door.

Copious Readers, if you live by yourself in a house with embedded door latches, here is a list of things you shouldn’t do, in the order in which you shouldn’t do them:

1. Do not say, “My guest bathroom doorknob is ugly. It needs replacing.” No it doesn’t. It is fine. Just leave it.

2. Do not unscrew said doorknob, then remove the handles and bolting mechanism, and then leave the bolt aka spring latch inside the door because you can’t figure out how to remove that part.

3. Do not go to Lowe’s for advice, then return home with your mission unaccomplished because there were working no automated carts available and your legs are too weak to walk all the way to the Doorknob Department. (The weak legs will become important later.)

4. Do not decide that even though the latch doesn’t retract anymore and could theoretically get stuck in the strike plate, rendering the door inoperable, it’s ok, because you will just remember not to close the door the whole way.

5. Do not drink a liter of coconut water, because in your manic sprint to the bathroom you will forget Operation Embedded Latch and slam the door behind you on the way to the toilet.

If you follow these instructions, you won’t find yourself zipping up your jeans and then slowly starting to claw at the empty ring in the locked door where the doorknob used to be. I had several thoughts when I realized I was trapped in the bathroom, all of which essentially amounted to,

I’m gonna die!

“Where’s my phone?” Not in the bathroom. 

“Will someone hear me if I scream?” No.

“Will anyone come looking for me?” Not for a few days. 

“What about the cats?” Yes, good idea! Just shout through the doorknob hole at Theo to retrieve a crowbar. 

“No, I meant what will they eat?” What will you eat? Are you gonna stick your hand through the door hole and grab a cat?

“Can I kick down the door?” You just reamed out the Lowe’s manager for not having working motorized carts for your poor legs, but by all means, do kick down the door. 

“What am I gonna doooooo?” I don’t know. What sort of escape vehicle can you fabricate from a toothbrush, toilet brush, towel, and mauve lipstick?

Days before, in a fit of uncharacteristic craftiness, I had decided to replace the knob on the vanity with a Petoskey stone from Lake Michigan. I’d put the Petoskey stone, bolt, super glue, and a screwdriver in a box next to the toilet, but then my craftiness fit passed and I returned to my normal state of Netflix-induced interia. Now my wide, panicked eyes saw the box. Using the screwdriver, I was able to pry the latch out of the door jam and free myself. In five seconds. This would have been a far better story if I’d also had to use the stone, bolt, and glue to MacGyver my escape, but survivors can’t be choosers. If that screwdriver hadn’t been in the bathroom, I would still be in the bathroom.

This scenario brings to mind the age-old stereotype of the single person dying and rotting alone. In the bathroom, I was horrified that no one would miss me right away, either in person or via phone. After I was free, I realized that several people I talked with regularly would have been concerned that I hadn’t checked in. The problem was that they understandably would need a couple days to realize I was dangerously MIA.  A couple days in the bathroom would have been awful, but doable. I had the necessities: water, toilet, bobby pins (all women who are growing out their bangs know what I’m talking about).  The risk seems like a small price to pay for the privilege of living alone–although I might change my mind if I lock myself in the closet during upcoming renovations. Stay tuned.





1. Barbara Payne - September 27, 2018

Wonderful story, Christina! So well put, too!

2. Solitary Diner - September 28, 2018

Glad you didn’t have to spend days stuck in your bathroom!

3. Book Review: She I Dare Not Name: A Spinster’s Meditations | Onely.Org - June 1, 2021

[…] I read (and highlighted), I remembered my own brush with single-living catastrophe, when I got stuck in my bathroom. For a few terrifying minutes, I imagined my starved corpse curled on the floor, as the cats paced […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: