Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics (2000-2011)
| HOME | FICTION | POETRY | SQUID | RANTS | archive | masthead |
Rant #299
(published October 12, 2006)
On How I Grew Afraid Of Becoming A Raisin In The Sun In The Wintertime Because Of The View From The Balcony
by Irma Cedeño
So there's the story of the balcony in Madrid, wonderful balcony, beholder of dreams: When Ayleen and I first saw the apartment, she loved the balcony. Yes, it was beautiful. Big enough for both of us, luxurious enough to feel like we were in Europe (well, we were in Madrid). "We're going to fight over that balcony," she had said with that little laugh of hers. We took the apartment, paid the rent in advance. We planned brunch in the balcony, accompanied by mimosas (gosh, anyone would have thought we were still in New York). And, as a matter of fact, we soon started fighting over the balcony.

This is how horror movies start.

I got the big room, after all I am quite claustrophobic. Along with it came the balcony. Problem solved, right? Right.

Let's just say Ayleen and I love to have fun. It was Thursday night. Friday we were destined for a NYU trip to Segovia, about an hour from Madrid, and we had to be there at 7AM. Really, it wasn't quite Thursday anymore. It was more like Friday morning for people who work. For us, it was time to finish the wine in the house.

Maybe destiny was on our side and that was its twisted way of letting me know that I was made for greater things than NYU trips . . . such as staying stuck in the balcony. After getting quite happy, we decided to go to the balcony. Maybe we could scream obscene things at people and they couldn't do anything to us. Hahaha. Maybe — I don't know — we could figure out something productive, like what E = mc2 meant or, if that proved too arduous, at least who came up with it.

We stepped out, and I recall a brief premonition that we would be stuck out there. I watched Ayleen's hand as she pressed it to the glass and slammed the door shut. A immediately grabbed the knob. Yup, we were stuck.

At first I kept laughing. I mean, really, does life get any funnier? We tried to force the door open to no avail. That was one secure door. Then we tried taking the glass out, but figured that replacing it would cost us more than calling an actual locksmith. And, of course, not one of us figured we would get stuck on the balcony and would need a phone so we had left our cell phones behind.

This is where I had my epiphany. Oh gosh, I had drunk a lot of wine in proportion to my small size, and now I was going to defer like a raisin in the sun. Only there was no sun. It was night time, it was the winter, and my toenails were about to fall off. So maybe I was going to freeze like a raisin in the sun. Maybe I would never be good enough to become wine. All my dreams, all my dreams deferred. Hughes . . . my hero.

(Don't you just love to quote people when you are stuck in a balcony?)

I was willing to do anything, anything to survive.

Ayleen grabbed a pole and used it to hit the neighbor's window. We introduced ourselves to the nice South American lady who lived next door (or did we know her from before and I reintroduced myself? All because of that balcony . . .) Ayleen told her about our glamorous situation. Could she call the police? The police would tell us to call the fire department. Well, then could she call the fire department? The fire department would tear our door apart and leave it like that. But, in the movies they could come through the window . . . In the movies, they could save people.

Oh, and they would charge us. Oh, sweet Spain . . . I will never forget you.

So, of course she could call the locksmith. She went away to make the call. Meanwhile, I decided to create a nice scenario where someone would come save me, for free. "You know," I told Ayleen, "if our neighbors were men they would climb through the window. It wouldn't be a problem."

She came back with news. It would cost us 150 euros to get the door open. To get the locks replaced the next morning it would probably be 300 more.

I was willing to do anything to get out, but I was not willing to pay 150 euros to get out, plus 300 more to put those locks back on. That would make me a total thrifter. And that is something I'm not (not everyday of the week). But we decided to split it. It was either that or live in perpetual oblivion in the balcony of dreams (and become a raisin when summer finally arrived.)

In the mean time, the neighbor's daughter had come to the window. All she did was talk about law school. I told Ayleen to stop talking to her so she would go away. Otherwise, I thought I would jump off.

An hour later, we were still in the balcony. My laugh had said good night and gone directly into REM sleep and Ayleen was a nervous wreck. We weren't going on that trip to Segovia the next day. Who would be able to make it to the university by 7AM? And they wouldn't get us the locks till the next day anyway, so one of us would have to watch the house. We wouldn't go somewhere and leave the other in an apartment with no locks. What about the housewarming party the next day? We had totally forgotten. Yeah, the one we had only invited two people to. That one. We wouldn't be able to afford even a one-euro wine at this point.

We heard the breaking of the locks and then some man opened the balcony door.

Later, as I stood in the doorway with the locksmiths, I said what would go down in history as a very provocative invitation by a girl in pink pajamas who had been stuck in a balcony for two hours and had nothing better to do. "We were having a party tomorrow, but now with this . . ."

One of the men motioned to the other. "Too bad we're married."

Had I just been turned down by two phenomenal locksmith dudes who thought, in the depths of their ignorance that I could have somehow been inviting them over to "party"? Gee, I hadn't thought about it. It was a bad night.

But you know what they say . . . something about having lemons and making lemonade. I wasn't about to make lemonade there, at 3AM, mainly because I didn't have lemons (my fridge was empty and I was now broke). But I had a plan.

The next morning, we called the owner of the apartment and told him that we came home after partying the night before and, what do you know? We couldn't open the door! So we had to call the locksmith and had them open it for us. Turns out there was glue in the keyhole! Who could have done that to us? A jealous neighbor? Huh . . . Yeah, locksmith guy must have thought I had invited him to the party because he volunteered to put that glue in and serve as a witness. The owner had the locks changed and promised to reimburse us.

So there. It is possible to get stuck in the balcony, get out alive, and still have your purse full. That is, of course, if it only happens once. Just ask Ayleen.

It was a nice afternoon. My sister and her friend were visiting, and after spending the day at Parque Retiro, we had come home. I had to change to go to theater rehearsal. Only I couldn't open the door. Maybe the crazy lady from downstairs put glue in the keyhole! I couldn't get in contact with Ayleen. Her phone rang and rang, and I came to the conclusion that she had locked the door inside and gone off to sleep. She never made it to rehearsal with me. That night, when I came home, the lock was broken. Yup, another night in the balcony.

I'm beginning to expect there's a conspiracy.

Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece

see other pieces by this author

Poor Mojo's Tip Jar:

The Next Rant piece (from Issue #300):

The Wounded Soldier
by Mark Twain

The Last few Rant pieces (from Issues #298 thru #294):

All Us Monsters
(a video rant)

by Hugs

Did You See That Thing I Just Did?
by Adrian Chen

The Creepiest Thing I Ever Saw
by Morgan Johnson

By The Time It Reach Hollywood, It's Over
by Noah Berlatsky

Your Data Is Fungible
by David Erik Nelson

Rant Archives

Contact Us

Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson

More Copyright Info