Since everyone seems to enjoy stories where I make a fool out of myself, I thought of another one to share:
This was years ago when I lived in an apartment in El Paso for my Army Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic Course. Back then, I lived, ate, and dreamt Army. It was my number one priority and I dedicated every fiber of my being to becoming the best officer possible, at any cost. I was never late or out of uniform, and I studied like a mad woman for the challenging written and practical tests.
One night, asleep in my bedroom, I woke up to use the bathroom. I got out of bed and walked my closed bedroom door only to find that I could not open it. I thought maybe I had accidently locked it, but when I looked at the door knob, I discovered, there was no lock at all. Since it was a matter of being stuck, I jiggled the knob every which way possible, while pulling and yanking with all my might. Nothing. Now I actually started to panic a little. I lived alone and had just moved to the state, so I knew no one.
After a few more minutes of hopeless fiddling, I reached for my cell phone and called the apartment building’s emergency maintenance number, but I only got an automated message. The front office didn’t open until 8 am, and I had to be at PT (physical training) by 6 am. I looked at the time. It was 5.
Finally I called my class Platoon Leader and explained the ridiculous situation to him, worried that I might be late for PT. He stumbled over a suggestion…should he come over and break the door down? Well, my front door was locked, so unless he wanted to destroy two doors, that was ruled out. We were at a complete loss for what to do. I had exhausted every effort I could think of to unjam the door. I couldn’t even break it down because it opened to the inside. Finally I had an idea.
I opened my bedroom window and looked at the outside brick wall of the complex. I lived on the 3rd floor. But I saw that there was a thin ledge that wrapped all the way around the building. If I could scale the ledge and get to my balcony, maybe just maybe I left my patio, sliding door unlocked. However, if it was locked, I would be stuck outside on my balcony until 8 am when someone could come rescue me - that is, if I didn't fall to my death first. Oh yeah, and it was January. Noticing the clock tick closer and closer to 6, I decided to chance it.
So, I popped out the screen of my bedroom window and watched it fall 3 stories to the ground below. I put one foot on the slim, white ledge and steadied myself using the window frame while I pulled my other leg out from the safety of my bedroom, all the while thinking how utterly insane the morning headlines would sound, “Girl Traps Herself in Bedroom, Falls to Her Death While Trying to Escape.”
Eventually, I carefully shimmied towards the balcony, clinging to the brick wall and forcing myself to not look down. I don’t think I took a breath for about 5 minutes. When I was close enough, I threw myself over the ledge to the safety of the enclosed, cement patio. With a quick prayer, I tugged on the sliding glass door. UNLOCKED!!! Oh thank Heavens!!! I let myself into my apartment.
Now only one problem left. I had to get my uniform and equipment for the day, which was in my bedroom. This time, I didn’t care. I got a running start from down the hall and crashed into the door with my shoulder, busting it open and permanently damaging the wooden door frame. I gathered my stuff and sped off to work. I never did get my damage deposit back when I moved out, but at least I wasn’t late for PT.
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