Friday, December 10, 2010

William saved by the fire marshal - William salvato dal maresciallo dei pompieri

Yesterday (Thursday 9th December) William and I were ready to go shopping when something unforgettable happened. I accidentally locked William in the house with me freezing my ass outside (temperature below zero C). I had no keys, no cell phone, and both the front and back doors were shut.

In the previous houses where we lived in the Boston area, we used to have a combination lock, which made our life easier. Then we moved into this old charming New England house. "Honey don't worry, this old door forces you to use the keys to close it so you won't risk locking yourself out", said my husband with a smile. Ultime parole famose (famous last words). Yesterday I was indeed locked out of the house with William crying inside and me crying (believe me, crying) outside the house. And my husband? He was in Seattle teaching a 5 days long class.

An hour before I was chatting with my mother in law about me not being used to living in a house all by myself - in London I always shared an apartment with flatmates. The only time when I didn't a burglar came to visit me and stole all of my belongings, dirty clothes included - no kidding. In each of the houses where I lived in London I did lock myself out a few times. Usually, all I had to do to solve the problem was to go to meet a friend for a drink (which in England means a few, many), and by the time we were done with drinks, one of my flatmate was at home, ready to open the door for me. Sweet. Although a couple of times I had to break into the house. It is pretty common for a Brit to do that.

Now imagine me being stuck outside the house in the American suburb, where all you can see is rows of houses and not even a hint of a pay phone. I was screwed. Even if one of my neighbors had been at home, what would I say, "Excuse me, oh, ehem, I am sorry... I am the idiot next door who locked herself out with a baby stuck in the house. Can you please help me smash the door?"

Nope. Instead, I tried to smash the door myself, as I used to do in London in the same circumstances, but apparently American doors are built better. I kicked as hard as I could at both front and back doors, but nothing. From past experience, I was expecting the doorknob to fall off, or maybe a shower of broken wood. Nope. I was not getting a single hint of progress. The door was not getting damaged. My foot was. So I started crying. My baby inside the house was crying louder than ever before and I was freezing my ass off.

It turned out that the first stranger passing by started running towards me to my rescue. No kidding. Like in the American movies. And this is the cool bit. Instead of helping me smash the door, which is what I expected, he smiles and calmly makes a phone call to the fire brigade. "Fire brigade? There is no fire in my house. I am just locked out". When I was 9 I had caused my father to call the Fire brigade with a false alarm, and that led to me being without chocolate for 6 months. How could I let this happen again?

Too late. If you call a fire truck in the US, it comes inside of 3 minutes (I checked my watch). And seconds later I saw the fire marshal coming out of the front door of my house with William giggling in his arms. Just like in Virgola's story (an abandoned dog locked in an apartment who is saved by a fire marshal). No smashed door, no broken window, not even a broken lock to show my husband at the end. That day I had accidentally left the front patio door open after placing the Christmas lights on the balcony. Solito culo! (usual ass, meaning usual luck)

Just when I was hoping that everyone would leave and forget the idiot who locked herself in, a couple of neighbors magically appeared - they were looking at the big red fire truck from their decks. Then the marshal asked a colleague to take my name and various details. At that point I was worried that he would offer sending social services to my house to help me overcome the trauma of the incident (They often suggest things like that here in the US!). Great: they are making it official, I am the idiot of the neighborhood! Instead, he handed me William with a heroic smile, he said that he was safe and that it was a fairly easy job. He then left with that heroic smile still on his face. Like in the American movies. They must like these calls where they don't have to risk their lives and they get to be heros. Now, I just wish I had taken a photo of that moment. I hope William forgives me.

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