Locked Out!

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It was impossible, yet still it happened. I was locked out, possibly forever. By the end of the day, exhausted and completely demoralized, I was literally begging complete strangers for help. But let’s start at the beginning.

I was locked out and couldn’t get back in. Hours had passed, and I’d already gone through the range of emotions that included getting mad, saying a few bad words and throwing things, but none of that worked.

After trying again and again and still not being able to get in, I was told to wait ten minutes, then twenty, then thirty, and finally an hour before trying again. All hope was quickly fading as my situation went from bad to worse.

Flashing back to the time I was stuck in that drainpipe thirty feet under Flamingo Street unable to move, panic once again filled my entire being, breathing became difficult, and I started to cry.

Ever been locked out of your house or car because you’ve lost your keys? It’s an easy thing to do, especially if you’ve forgotten the whereabouts of the hide-a-way key or didn’t put a key back in its little box. (I’m not gonna admit that I’ve done that once because I’ve done it three times…so far.)

Being locked out of your house is frustrating, but not necessarily an emergency. Trust me, you can always get in. In the past, I’ve been known to force open a door with just a flathead screwdriver or break a window to get access.

I don’t suggest these two options. They will draw the attention of your neighbors and folks walking dogs in front of your house. And trust me, if the police officer who lives in your neighborhood sees you trying to break into the house, he will stop to investigate.

What happened to me last Saturday seemed even worse. And it was the most harrowing four hours Yours Truly here has experienced in years — even more irritating than having to deal with the IRS and government websites.

The incident left me feeling small, insignificant, and as bright as one of those energy efficient five-watt light bulbs — just like that time I received a D- in Ms. Newsome’s 11th-grade English class.

Reaching for the phone, my hands were trembling as I tried to call The Wife for help, but I couldn’t. The situation was quickly becoming an emergency. My phone was locked, and I couldn’t unlock it! This was strange because I had face identification and I hadn’t changed my face so my phone should unlock. Nope.

The phone had done an automatic update so the message it displayed was to enter my six-digit passcode — which I would if I could remember it which I didn’t because I couldn’t. And that’s why I was trying to call The Wife. She never forgets anything. Unfortunately, I couldn’t call because my phone was locked. It was a vicious circle of frustration.

After searching all the notes on my computer for passcodes, I tried them one by one, but all were rejected. I took a break to cut the grass thinking the passcode would come to me, and it did! The numbers were again rejected. Now the message displayed read that I had to wait an hour before trying again, and there was a timer counting backwards.

Almost in a complete panic, I searched the computer for an answer and finally found one. It wasn’t the one I wanted. Seems you have a limited number of tries to enter a passcode, and I had just two more left. Another wrong entry and the phone would count down for a day then allow me one last try before being disabled.

Still not able to get in touch with The Wife, it was time to admit my defeat and go to the experts. With the timer on the phone displaying twenty minutes before I could try again, I drove to the giant electronics store with the blue roof. The nice Geek folks at the store told me that if I entered the wrong passcode twice more no one would ever be able to get into the phone, not even them.

I thought about the 34,000 pictures, 21,000 videos, and all my passwords locked inside forever! Only because I couldn’t remember six little numbers. The weight of that loss forced me into a nearby chair. With hope all but lost, the timer said I could try again. Not knowing what to do, I just sat there. Then a miracle happened … my locked phone rang!

It was The Wife. She was calling to ask how my day was going. In a trembling voice I told her about the last four hours and how I felt worse than when I received that D– back in Ms. Newsome’s class.

Then she said words lifted all weight from my shoulders: “It’s alright, honey. Everything’s going to be okay. I know your passcode.”

After over four hours of trying, I held my breath and entered the six numbers she had told me. Another miracle happened. The phone unlocked! It was moments later when the nice Geek folks asked me to leave.

I’ve taken away four things from my ordeal. First, write down all passwords and passcodes and hide the paper somewhere safe in the house. Second, make multiple reminders of where you have hidden said paper. Third, when I think all hope is lost, I shouldn’t. The Wife is always there to save me.

And finally, keep my dancing for joy at the house. Seems those good folks at that giant electronics store with the blue roof are not fond of folks shouting, “I got in! I got in!” as they are jumping and dancing for joy all through their store.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]