Losing your marbles is only a brick away

2014-08-18 00:00

SOMETIMES I just lose my marbles. A switch is flicked in my brain and all rational thought disappears along with logic and reason. It’s usually caused by something that, in my defence, would challenge the calmest of people. My family usually recognise the signs and stoically weather the storm, knowing calm will eventually return (although, if they were honest, they would acknowledge often these episodes are a direct result of something they did or did not do). My most recent sense of humour loss was caused by being locked out of my house, after work, in the cold and rapidly encroaching darkness with two hungry, grumpy children and two equally hungry, grumpy dogs all milling around being useless. And my husband was away — he’s always away when these kinds of things happen; it’s uncanny.

The front-door key had not been left in its usual place and the house was locked and dark. On occasion when this has happened before, we’ve been able to (I hope no potential burglars are reading this) slip a piece of newspaper under the back door and, using a thin object like a stick, managed to wriggle the back door key out of its keyhole causing it to drop on to the piece of paper to be gently pulled out from under the door (I know, very McGyver of us). My son, recognising the melt down that was starting to happen in front of him, found a long nail and started working on the back-door key. By this stage, I was shouting at the dogs, swearing like a sailor, abusing the person who had locked us out, threatening the rabbit, cursing my husband for never being around when I need him and criticising my son for the ineffectual tinkering going on in the back-door handle.

“Give me that,” I snapped, snatching the nail from him and proceeded to tinker equally ineffectually, shouting at my daughter to shine the torch closer so I could see what I was doing (yes, I have a little torch in my bag; it’s very sweet). Alas, of course, this time the key wouldn’t budge.

I Googled “Pietermaritzburg locksmiths” on my phone, while trying not to burst into tears of rage. The predictive texting on my phone, which I don’t know how to disable, kept coming up with “blacksmith”, over and over again.

“I don’t want a blacksmith,” I shrieked. “Why would I want a blacksmith?” Eventually, after quietly observing her crazed mother jumping up and down like a toddler having a tantrum, and after watching the phone disappear into the bushes, my daughter said calmly and rationally (unlike said crazed mother), pointing at the office windows: “Mum, let’s just break a window. I can fit through those.”

My son, who, from personal experience, knows better than anyone my reaction to broken windows, scoffed at the suggestion, not believing I would ever deliberately break a window. However, by this time my brain was in the final stages of liquification and I was contemplating tearing down the walls with my bare hands just to get inside. All I wanted was a hot bath, a glass of wine and some mindless television to restore my equilibrium.

Without stopping to think, I grabbed a brick and expertly smashed the window with three blows. While bravely proclaiming this to be an adventure, my daughter shimmied through head first and, finally, we were inside. I marched through to where I knew the key would be, on top of the piano, where I had left it that morning. No key.

“Oh no,” I groaned, burying my face in my hands. The children disappeared, the cats watched me with big, round eyes and the dogs lay down quietly on the carpet, even though their supper time was now an hour late.

Now that the red mist had finally dissipated and my ears had stopped ringing, I knew exactly how the next few minutes would unfold. Resolutely, I took my little torch and went to inspect the hidey place where the key is usually left for me. And there it was, just a little to the left of its exact spot, winking at me sweetly. “Oh well,” I sighed. “I suppose I’d better go and find my phone.”

My most recent sense of humour loss was caused by being locked out of my house, after work, in the cold and rapidly-encroaching darkness, with two hungry, grumpy children and two equally hungry, grumpy dogs all milling around being useless.

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