If calling for help is grim, calling for help when no one might hear you is very grim. And as long as I stayed quiet I didn't have to worry about being heard or depending on others. Self-Reliant! A self that was helpless, but a self-reliant helpless self.

I had to build up to it, at first soundlessly mouthing the words to myself. After 45 minutes I was saying real words in a speaking voice: Hello. Help me please. Anybody who hears my voice please help me. I'm stuck up here. Hello. Hello. And as I spoke I looked down and picked at my fingernails as if making eye contact with the neighborhood would break me.

Gradually I brought up the volume slightly, mindfully keeping my tone consistent with my crisis. And what was my crisis? I'm locked out on the beautiful back porch of the beautiful apartment I moved into 3 days ago, the sun and wind are lapping at me, gently, it reminds me of being at a lakehouse. I have no keys, no phone, no shoes, no room mates are home. I also have no immediate needs whatsoever, nothing on the stove and I don't even have to pee. I'm detained in a calm reverie, get me out of here.

I'd gone out there in the first place to hang three sopping pillowcases to dry on the railings and senselessly closed the door behind me. By now the pillowcases were barely damp, and suddenly an eager gust snatched one and took it away, down into the yard. That was all I had!, I said to the wind, anguished. By now I was comfortable speaking to not people. These damp pillowcases were all I had and now I have even less! I folded the remaining 2 and wedged them safely between two planks of the porch.

Another hour passed and the sun set and eventually the neighbors to the south came home and heard my voice. One by one their household came to their enclosed porch window, elbows on sill and chin in hands. No, God, don't you dare try to climb down. Are you dehydrated? Do you need a coloring book or ipod? Honey I'm worried about you staying out there all weekend. If I were you I'd be damn furious. Just furious. We could try to find a ladder tall enough. But you're really up there. I mean, that's high.

Even if I were on the ground i'd still be barefoot and locked out, I reasoned.

No ladder happened, but by the generosity of those neighbors and my below neighbors who returned home soon after, I was freed. I was neighbored to.


this is not the first time I've posted about back porches and ladders.