It could have happened to anybody ... right?

I hesitate to continue the Chronicles of Numbrainia. But crazy stuff keeps happening, and writing is cheaper than therapy.

This week was an ongoing exercise in getting-to-work aggravation, culminating in five minutes of abject humiliation.

My critters require a lot of a.m. care, and I am an avowed slugabed. Between their needs and my own paint-and-spackle requirements, I am running behind schedule every morning. So I count on my daily commute to be trouble-free.

Not happening this week.

One day the highway was all buggered up. Next day it was the interstate. Then both routes.

I slid into my parking space at work on Thursday a good 20 minutes tardy. Then proceeded to lock myself in my own danged car.

Yes. You read that right. Locked. Myself. In. Car.

I blame technology. If I hadn't needed some privacy to make a last-minute cellphone call, and if I didn't have a newer car with one of those evil self-locking systems that hermetically seals you in said vehicle and refuses to unlock itself once the key is removed from the ignition no matter how many buttons you repeatedly and frantically press, this never, ever would have happened.

After pulling on the door handle and/or pressing the unlock-door button at least 50 times to no avail, it finally registered: "Try something else."

But what else was there to do? Smashing the window seemed extreme. No one was passing by who might help. And what could they do anyway?

I finally managed to hook my fingernail under the unlock button and pry it into an upright position. Like a swimmer surfacing from a deep dive, I pushed the driver's door open and breathed free. Success!

The car immediately pitched a full-on hysterical fit. "BLAT! BLAT!!!!!!!!! BLAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!"

"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Stop that!" I cried.

I may be past 50. But I instantly revert to 12 years old again whenever noisy, embarrassing things happen. The car alarm had me mentally and emotionally perched on the precipice of "you are so grounded" trouble.

I could hear my dearly departed and totally mortified mom. "Sandra Lynne! Stop all this racket!"

I fully expected to be arrested for disturbing the peace.

Then I remembered this part — the alarm screaming loud enough to wake the dead for no apparent reason — had happened before. Scrambling around in my overlarge purse, I found the keys and shoved them in the ignition. The car stopped screaming. And so did I — eventually.

I like to tell myself it's not that I'm actually a stupid moron. It's just that I act the part a lot of the time. Thankfully, my friends remind me I am not alone.

After I slunk into the newsroom and confessed all, a colleague shared his tale. His wife had accidentally locked him in a sweltering auto during a roadside pit stop. Relieved and refreshed, she returned just in the nick of sweaty time.

The moral of this story?

Do not leave your children, pets or husbands unattended — especially in a desert clime.

My favorite locked-in tale came during lunch when a friend confessed she too had been locked in her car. Twice in the same incident.

Discovering she was trapped and late for two important meetings, my frantic-to-escape friend called her auto dealer. Minutes later, the door magically opened. The person at the dealer opined a dying battery was the likely problem.

"You should try it again and see if it is the battery," they told her.

"And, like an idiot, I did," she said.

Key, click-click, lock, trapped, dial.

Many, many minutes later, she was once again freed. And got a ride to her next appointment. As she was venting her frustrations, her friend piped up with the capper.

"Isn't your car a convertible?"

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email

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