Saturday, June 06, 2009

I know that the door to the men's restroom in Tennis Center 3 is difficult to open. It's just that I forgot. We haven't been in that new field house for two months because, with enrollment way down, the club consolidated programs this session in Tennis 2.

Except this morning, the older kids were in Tennis 3.

After Chris's class, which runs half as long as Tim's, we went to Tennis 3 to watch Tim. Kenny was at home recovering from yesterday's illness. At some point, Chris got up to use the restroom. Unlike the ladies' room, it is limited to one customer at a time, so the boys are in the habit of locking the main door. As they should.

However, when Chris didn't come back right away, I got curious. I had my nose in a book, so I can't say how much time had passed exactly. He is typically very quick, 'though. So I walked the full length of the field house and as I approached the utility closet near the front entrance, I clearly heard sobs and a voice stressing, "I just want to get out."

The field house is normally very active, very busy. Clearly school is out because, oftentimes, nearby colleges send teams for matches. For that reason, if the boys have trouble exiting the men's room, there's usually someone standing nearby waiting to go next. That wasn't the case and, trying the handle, I found it locked from the inside. I had nothing to rotate the slit lock so I told Chris that I would return quickly with a key.

I ran to my seat, grabbed my car key and ran back to the door. My key was too wide to fit the slit. A nickel would do it, I thought, but then Chris pulled the door open and back and I stepped into the restroom. I saw what looked like water on the floor next to his feet. He was sobbing pretty intensely and, since I know he only washes his hands at school, I imagine the "water" was his tears.

He brightened up immediately and I hugged him and said I was sorry that he got stuck in there. And he danced off to play with some stray tennis balls while I lingered behind to figure out what exactly went wrong. Not that I'll remember from one week to the next.

And the door sticks in the frame at the lock plate. The hinges aren't loose. Maybe the metal has swelled in the spring heat? I would have liked to report it to someone because it's been a chronic problem but there was no one. Budget cuts, I'm sure. I know Tim's coach well enough to know that she has little to do with club operations: mentioning it to her wouldn't matter.

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