I come this night with a true tale of a dinner party, a doorknob, pants, and great distress. I got permission from my friend to tell this story.
Not so long ago, I attended a get-together at my friend Nathan’s* house. Dinner was served, there was plenty of wine. Everyone around the table had interesting jobs, so we talked about those. We discussed books. I often look around and can’t believe I’m an adult. I get bills in my mailbox and I think, “I get bills. And I pay them. I have kitchen utensils. I can get myself showered and to the airport on time.” I can’t believe I do these things on my own. At this dinner party, I had that feeling. I was listening intently to someone discussing their recent trip to Bangkok, took a sip of red wine, and thought, “Fons, you are pulling this off.”
Between dinner and dessert, my friend excused herself to go to the ladies’ room upstairs. Keeping tabs on how long people spend in the bathroom is weird, so I didn’t do that exactly, but it did cross my mind at one point that my friend had been upstairs longer than a typical bathroom visit takes. But before I was officially considering it, she came down and everyone had fruit.
I stuck around after the other guests left to help with dishes, and that was when Nathan and I learned what had happened up there. “Did you notice how long I was gone?” Sally asked. I told her that I kinda noticed, but it wasn’t weird or anything.
“Oh, it was weird, all right,” she said. “As I was leaving the bathroom, the door swung closed behind me and my pantloop got caught on the doorknob. Have you seen that thing? It’s this weird curlique doorknob. I twisted around to free myself, but I guess I went the wrong way somehow, because I made it worse. Like, the twist got twisted and I was stuck. I was stuck on door to the bathroom.”
I brought a dish towel to my chest. “Sally no.”
“Yes,” she said, and our eyes got big and mirth began to well up in us and Nathan stopped loading the dishwasher. “I was twisting this way and that way, just trying to get free. I was up there the whole time, stuck on the door! I could hear you all downstairs, laughing and clinking glasses. I’m telling you: I was really stuck. I was moving back and forth and the door was banging… I thought the only thing I was going to be able to do would be try to take my pants off but I couldn’t do that, either — I mean, how was that gonna happen?” We were weak with laughter. Sally squeaked, “Could you hear me? Could you hear me like, rustling?”
I shook my head and wiped tears from my eyes. Poor, poor Sally, dangling like a fish on a hook, only feet above the civilized dinner party, thrashing silently, trying not to curse, Sally — a woman of faith — prayed for divine intervention. We imagined her sweating, pulling, pushing, all in shame, desperate to solve a very strange, very immediate problem.
“Just when I was about to call down, ‘Hey, Mary, can you come up here for just a sec?’ and make it sound real casual, like I wanted to show you a new dress I bought or something, just that moment, I untangled it. I kind of fell forward, but I caught myself.”
I haven’t known Sally too long, but I foresee good things. And as getting one’s pant loop hooked to a doorknob is something that does not happen to grownups very often, I may be able to avoid these “I am an adult” realizations if I hang out with her more. Done.
*Names have been changed.