Help! I’m Locked in the Head

As a follow up to our last post about me doing stupid things, earlier this week I locked myself in the bathroom (head – for you nautical types). On Amel boats, as with most brands, doors can be fastened closed from both sides or fastened open. Doors need to be fastened one way or another while at sea. In the case of the toilet door, obviously a person on the inside would want to lock it. But unlike a house, we also want to lock it closed from the outside. Why? Because the air conditioning unit for the master cabin is located behind the toilet and closing the door muffles the sound. Also, open doors take up space. If the door were not fastened closed, it would thunk all night as the boat rolls gently back and forth. Thunking in the night is not good. We have a small wooden latch thingamajig on the outside of the door we can rotate to hold the door closed. For reasons that will soon become clear to you, this latch usually hangs in the downward position. I’m sure this thingamajig has a technical name but I really don’t feel like spending hours on Google trying to find out the correct carpentry term. Anyway, the other day I was in the shower. I went to open the door and it would not open. The little wooden latch thingamajig had fallen closed and was holding the door closed from the outside. When entering the shower, I didn’t notice the latch was pointing upward. When I closed the door, it fell closed and locked me in. Realize here, I had a fifty fifty chance of it not locking me in. It could have gone anti-clockwise and dangled in its open position. But no! This is me we’re talking about. I am the person to which stupid things happen. Of course it fell clockwise locking me in.

There is a gap above the door. I thought I could reach over and turn the latch. Nope.  Crap. Now what?

Where’s Cindy, you ask. Good question. I tried calling her but she didn’t answer. We have a small porthole in the bathroom. I thought if I opened it I could get someone’s attention, have them come aboard the boat and let me out. I couldn’t see anyone on the dock. I could have pushed the door hard and broke the latch. I thought about this option as a last resort. I really did not feel like adding “fix the bathroom door” to my list of things to do. At this point, my mind starts to wonder and I think about a very sad story of two people trapped in an elevator.

In Florida a few years ago an elderly couple were going to bed just like any other night. They had worked hard their entire lives and were enjoying the comforts of a good retirement. They lived in a big house and had an elevator. Older people have trouble with stairs so installing an elevator in a house can prolong their independence. On this particular night the elevator stopped between floors and wouldn’t move. They were stuck. This is where they died. Several days passed before the paperboy notice they were not picking up the papers.  He rang the doorbell and noticed a strong smell coming from the house. He called the police. I am not sure what the saddest aspect of this story is: The fact this poor couple died a slow and horrible death over several days or the fact nobody cared enough to check on them. It’s odd how things like this pop into my head while I am naked and stuck in a bathroom.

Well, I am pleased to report; my story has a happier ending. Cindy came walking down the dock back from taking out the trash. I was able to get her attention and she let me out.

sailing cruising blog

Safe open position – latch is hanging down and will not rotate

sailing cruising blog

Door latched closed (rotated clockwise)

sailing cruising blog

DANGER – Close the door and the latch will fall clockwise locking the door from the outside

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