There with the grace of God

My luck lately has mostly run in the “I’m just lucky he doesn’t change the locks on me” kind. But this weekend, things changed.

On Sunday, I was finishing up a big, overdue deliverable, and innocently took a pee break that nearly cost me my job.

The washroom in our building is in the main hall, across from my organization’s suite of offices. The building superintendant had just been in, talked to me a bit, and departed – automatically locking the door behind himself. When I left, I did not check to see if the knob still turned before I heard the door slam behind me. Then I immediately realized my mistake.

My only connection to the outside world was the phone at the deserted reception desk in the foyer. My keys, wallet, phone etc were all locked in my office. I put in a call to the building superintendant, because his cellphone number was taped to the side of the receptionist’s computer. I left a message. I tried to connect to an operator who could look up numbers. No dice. I looked for a phonebook to try to contact colleagues who might be able to drop by. Not finding one, I left messages at the only two numbers I knew by heart in town, hoping someone would be home and could look me up some numbers – but they weren’t

Then I looked around the receptionist’s station some more. What else was I going to do while I waited?

I noticed a stack of keys, and thought that I might as well try them. Lo and behold, one worked. I called everyone back to confirm that they needed to take no action.

I got back to work, and got far enough along that by bedtime I could tuck in my girls.

The next day, I finished the work I was doing. When the super came in, I chatted with him, expressing my concern that, although the keys were admirably placed to help me out in a jam, I wasn’t sure that we really wanted to leave them readily available to assist any thieves who might get that far into the building on their own.

He explained the other keys were for interior doors that weren’t a separately rented office suite (like mine is), and he didn’t think there was a master  keyincluded in the set of keys. But he checked. He couldn’t make any of the keys open the door, not even the one on its own ring that I had used.  We couldn’t replicate the bit of synchronicity that had somehow set up the tumblers in my lock to cooperate, and let me in. Not one of the keys worked.

It was just, pure, luck.

What could have happened? I would have, lost about 4 hours at best, and missed a deadline that had already slipped. I would have been frantic, a basket case, and missed a night’s sleep. All kinds of bad things, but the most likely outcome was that  I might have finally exceeded the patience of my long-suffering boss.

Instead, I bought a lottery ticket on my way home.
That evening I watched a tiny hummingbird outside while I was playing with my kids.

I am very, very lucky.


5 thoughts on “There with the grace of God

  1. I really like how you told this story – the synchronicity of the locks. I’d love to hear more about how you feel about locks right now – locking on, locking in, being locked out, the threat of having a lock changed on you… since you’re feeling so “locky” anyhow!


  2. I am thoroughly convinced that inanimate objects can hear us. This is why I do not criticize my car when I am in it, nor do I curse my computer while I am near it.

    Seriously. Once I was running out of gas, so I talked nicely to the car and explained why I needed it to go another quarter of a mile, so it quit sputtering and dying and muscled through to the gas station. It loved me.


    • You may have something there. Maybe the power of love is what is behind all this; and a little extra love (or at least non-hate: no swearing at the poor things) goes a long way. I’m a very vocal person. But I’m learning a little discretion does us no harm, and maybe is even good for us!


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