Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I wonder what Mcgyver would have done had he been in my situation?
I live in a small apartment with an even smaller bathroom. It's pretty nice by Korean standards...and to be quite frank, not too bad considering the places I've lived in. It is four feet long by two and one half feet wide. The bathroom holds both a toilet and a shower.You have to straddle the toilet bowl and keep your knee wedged against the faucet to shut the bathroom door.
The knob doesn't work very well as it's rusty and so it won't open from the inside of the bathroom. When I shower I am very careful to slide the door almost shut, but I don't let the bolt click.
If I had any brains I would know that I couldn't do that forever. If I had any brains I would have taken four mintues and gotten a Korean friend to call maintenence and had them fix it. (As I don't speak Korean and they don't speak English.) If I had any brains I would have known that one morning, exahsted after a late night of Norebang I would stumble into the bathroom to shower and shut the door firmly behind me.
No fire alarm has ever made my heart drop as quickly as the quiet click of that door latch. It was a %@#* moment when your heart literally stops. A solid five minutes of twisting and turning the knob produced no results so I accessed my situation. It was as follows...
-Due to the shower, nothing is kept in the room except shampoo, face wash and a bar of soap.
-The roof has panals, none of which lift more than an inch up when I push on them standing on the toilet.
-As I was planning to shower I am naked, and have not even a bobby pin in my hair to help me out.
-The soap dish is loosely screwed to the wall. If I kick it I could probably knock it loose. As I can't see how this would be of any use I lodge the information away and fuss with the doorknob again.

I turn it gently, twisting it up and down, left to right, searching for weakness. I turn it as quickly as I can, jerking it with dangerous speed. I grip it with both hands and try to turn it as hard as both hands will twist. It doesn't budge. Again, I survey my surroundings.

-The shower head is detachable. Perhaps I could use it to break off the hinges? The hinges are solid metal the the shower head is plastic. Improbable.

I kick the door as hard as I can. No result, but it feels good. I kick it ten more times justifying this expense of energy thinking that it might jiggle something loose in the doorknob.
Again I fuss with the doorknob, thinking, "when would people notice me missing?" In about 25 or 26 hours, I guess. I have friends who would call in 12 hours, but wouldn't think it wierd that I wasn't answering my phone, and I wouldn't be missed until church the next day when I have to lead the music. Would they come to my apartment though? Or just be peeved that I had skipped out?
The idea of even two more hours in my tile prison is disheartening. I should have decorated a bit in here. A coloful mat with pictures of tropical fish wouldn't have killed me. And the corner is starting to get some soap scum.

-Panicked I start to beat out "help" in morse code against the wall.?That's an international language, isn't it? I pound on the wall, 3 long, 3 short, 3 long, 3 short, 3 long, over and over again. SOS. Nothing. Perhaps they don't understand the romanized letters here. I transelate SOS to Korean, 섯, but I don't know how to convert that to morse, so I sit on the toilet and continue to fiddle with the knob.

My pride will still not allow me to call out for help, but I'm getting close. My ankle hurts from kicking and my hands from pounding. Even worse, I'm bored. Why didn't I bring a Mitchner novel and a bannana sandwhich to the shower with me?
I don't allow myself to think of what will happen if I don't get out and minutes later the doorknob shifts a fraction of an inch farther than it has in minutes past and I give one last Herculean effort with both hands and the door slides open.
The first thing I do is look at a clock. I've been in the bathroom for 37 minutes. I feel no pride at conquering the door.No sense of personification towards my jailer. Relief yes, but probably not enough.
I shower with the door completly open. The floor of my apartment is soaked with water. Don't care. I notice two large blisters on my right hand when I dry off and flip the fan on towards the spreading puddle.
Seriously though, what would McGyver have done?