Sunday, March 18, 2018

Never fear, I'm like the Houdini of bathrooms in Israel.

The first time I got locked in the bathroom in Israel, we were at the Isrobel Hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. We weren't staying there, we just had day-passes so I had to change and put all my stuff in a locker in the locker room in the basement.

This was the women's locker room; Tom was therefore not around. Nor was anyone else. The entire time I'd been in the locker room attempting to figure out how to get the locker combination lock to work, determining it was broken, walking out to the front desk to get a new locker, getting a new locker, getting that one to work.... the entire time this whole preparing to take a dip in the Dead Sea had been going on... No.One.Had.Come.Into.The.Locker.Room. 

So I'm in there all by myself. 

I figure that very few other ladies, maybe nobody, had done the day-pass thing. Everyone else was an overnight guest and therefore had no need for the public locker room. It's nice to have an entire locker room to yourself. Until you get locked in a toilet stall.

After I managed to jam everything I had with me into the locker, I meandered over to toilet area.

I picked a stall. I locked the door behind me. 

By the way, this was not an American style stall with a high-hanging door that, worst come to worst, you could crawl under. These stalls were solid. Stone walls and a full-on wooden door.

When I went to open the door to leave, the latch turned but the door didn't open. I turned the latch again. No dice. The deadbolt wasn't moving. I turned the latch again. Nothing. I turned the latch three more times but remain stuck in the stone cell which some people might call a toilet stall.

Immediately, I had a full-on panic attack. How long will it take Tom to realize that I didn't wander off for a snack or walk over to the Dead Sea beach without him? And then how long will it take him to find someone who speaks English to come into the locker room and locate me? Will I have perished by then?

I sat down on the toilet seat and took deep breaths. I gave myself a little pep talk-- calm under pressure and all that. Then, with steely resolve, I slammed that latch back and forth like a blacksmith with unusually strong forearms. I must have opened and closed that latch 50 times in 20 seconds.

And the deadbolt opened. The whole episode was harrowing, but rather brief.

The second time I got locked in a bathroom in Israel was in Jerusalem at the Mamilla Hotel. Our tour arranger guy loved this hotel, so I didn't have the heart to tell him that we're Chelsea people and this place is so Upper East Side it made me want to go full-on rogue. I had a wild urge to wear around a beanie, drink my coffee out of a mason jar and talk about experimental house music and my stance against french manicures and matching luggage. The whole place gave me an identity crisis.

The bathroom in our room was super cray:

Glass enclosed bathroom in our room at the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

You see what I mean? Who could have imagined a more deluxe gimmick? Anyway, I had to get up to pee in the middle of the night and I realized if I turned the light on in the bathroom, it would be like turning on a bathroom-sized incandescent lamp. This would wake up Tom and then we'd have Grouchy Tom on our hands. So I walked into the bathroom and closed the door in pretty much the pitch dark because the Israelis are very good at black-out curtains.

When I went to go back to bed, I couldn't find the doorknob. I couldn't actually even remember where the door was. Also the Plan B light switch was somewhere totally not obvious to someone feeling up the walls like a blind person with a fetish for walls. Granted, I could have just yelled and woken up Tom and I'm sure he would have saved me but that would just be a little too much like giving up.

Eventually, like Houdini, I escaped.

I mean, like Houdini all the times before that last time.

(The cleaning ladies the next day: "Look at all these fingerprints all over every single surface in this entire bathroom WTF with these Americans?!")

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