I had completely forgotten about the following incident until I heard a cat meowing from the wrong side of the basement door this morning. There's an important message here - if you figure out what it is, please let me know.
Several years ago, Thing 1 had a day off from school and I went to work as usual (this was in the days when I was still employed and not just sucking the marrow from society like the leech I am today). He was still sleeping when I left. Towards late morning, I called the house to say good morning (to Thing 1, not the house), but he didn't answer. I tried again about 20 minutes later. Still no answer. It was pretty uncharacteristic of him to sleep quite this late and he wasn't answering his cell phone, so I started to get a little nervous.
My work was a mere 20 minute drive from home and I considered sneaking out to check up on him, but I was determined to talk myself down from the ledge. There were about a gazillion possible explanations for why I couldn't get in touch with him and I was going to prove myself optimistic, reasonable and level-headed, even if I had to overdose on tranquilizers to achieve these blissful states. Why, he was probably outside taking a walk....or at a friend's house.....or being held hostage by a three-headed alien...or freshly kidnapped and indoctrinated into the Tea Party.....
Three p.m. finally rolled around and I drove home leisurely, looking forward to finding him safe, showered and vacuuming his room (in other words, the movie based on the incident would be both a fairy tale and a fantasy). I even stopped for a gallon of milk before pulling into the driveway, opening the door and singing out, "Thing One? Thing One???" No answer.
I rushed upstairs and found myself in front of a closed bathroom door. From the other side I heard a "Mom? I'm locked in!" (Remember the cat at the beginning of this excruciatingly and boring long story?).
He had gone into the bathroom to take a shower, the doorknob/lock jammed and he'd been stuck inside for six hours. He tried to escape through the window and by taking the door off its hinges, but failed on both counts. He lined the bathtub with some towels, climbed in and contemplated the mold on the ceiling.
Thing 1 was hungry but otherwise unscathed. Unlike the cat, who found plenty of mice to eat in the basement.