Georgina Guedes

Screaming for help

2013-09-19 15:08

Georgina Guedes

"Click."

This is a fairly inauspicious sound – nothing alarming about it, really. Unless, like me, you are inside the pantry with your two kids, and your son has just closed a door that has no handle on the inside.

As he did it, the horror of the entire situation was immediately apparent to me. Our helper had left for the day. My husband had left for two weeks. I was trapped with my two children – in frivolous pursuit of sprinkles for ice-cream – in our pantry with no way of opening the door from the inside.

With each intake of breath I felt my panic rising, but I tried to breathe out calmly and slowly to clear my head. Henry, dear boy, pointed to the missing door handle and said “uh-oh!” Quite.

Angel, slightly more advanced in analysis and vocabulary, asked a few questions, but didn’t seem to be too upset.

“I’m going to try to think of a plan,” I told her. “But the very worst thing that could happen is that we have to sleep in here tonight, and Bianca will come and let us out in the morning.”

Even as I was saying this, my brain was offering up all sorts of even-worse-case scenarios. What if Bianca’s son has to go to the doctor and she doesn’t come in? What if we all suffocate in this small, enclosed space (it is kind of hot in here)? What if one of the kids gets my stomach bug in the middle of the night?

I began to investigate my surroundings. We were locked in with the power box for the electric fence, so my first bright idea was to rip out the wires so that it would send an alarm to ADT. That achieved, I sat on the floor with the two kids on my lap, trying to listen for the approaching security guards.

Then I decided that since it was 5:30 in the evening, this was optimal time to be yelling my head off, because neighbours were likely to be in their driveways, rather than inside cooking dinner and watching TV. So I broke the window with a can of tomatoes, warned the kids that I was about to make a racket, and began screaming “HELP!” with a great deal of fervour.

This freaked the kids out, so I stopped. Then, I decided that it would be worse to spend the night in the pantry, so I started screaming again. With the voice of an angel, my neighbour called back to me, clearly concerned that I was having my throat slit.

I explained my predicament, and ADT arrived at about the same time. Between them, they gained access to my home and sprung me and the kids from the pantry. Another two neighbours also called their security companies, so we had to explain ourselves a few more times.

In retrospect, it’s a rather funny story, but at the time it was pretty terrifying. However, I am left feeling mostly upbeat about the whole thing because the two solutions I came up with both bore fruit. And, more than anything, I was reminded yet again about the importance of community, of having a relationship with your neighbours, and of being able to rely on them to respond to a call for help.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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