Flashback to sometime this Fall. I remember that it was a Monday. The only thing left for me to do was empty the trash cans and then I was heading over to daycare to pick up my son. I was in a hurry so I threw the garbage bags in the trunk of my car AND drove around the side of our building to the dumpster.
I hopped out of my car and threw the garbage bags in the dumpster. I noticed that the lid was propped open and being a responsible SLP stepped into the dumpster enclosure to shut the cover. I realized that the cover DIDN'T close at the same time as the door shut and I heard a click.
I pushed the doors open. They didn't move. I tried again.
Locked. I was locked in something that I still don't even have the vocabulary to describe. Dumpster enclosure? Garbage can house? I was on the side of the dumpster. There was only about 6 inches of space between the dumpster and the doors. Unfortunately, I am not a 6 inch diameter speech language pathologist.
I tried squeezing my fingers through the narrow opening of the two doors in the hopes of lifting the latch. No luck.
I tried finding a stick in my brick prison to wedge in the openings and lever the latch up. It broke on the first try.
I spent about 5 minutes trying to kick the door open Karate style. I'm usually a Dansko, big comfortable shoe wearing type of Gal. Of course on this day I wore these shoes.
I'm starting to panic a little as I'm supposed to be picking up my little guy at his daycare. I decide that I must try to scale the wall. I make it up about 2 feet by wedging myself between the dumpster and grasping the gate walls ahead of me. My head is barely peeking over the gate. I realize that I will break both legs in an attempt to escape via jumping.
I see a car pulling up. Salvation. I yell. They don't hear me and walk into our clinic. I calculate how much time until the last therapist leaves. I realize two things. First, no one will realize that I am still there because I moved my car. Second, they will not hear me. I wonder if I will be there until morning. I try to remember the weather report.
I think about how the small town newspaper's police blotter will publish something like:
Local Speech therapist found in garbage dump after 2 day search.
She reports surviving by snacking on stale muffins
she found in garbage dumpster and covering herself
with cardboard at night."
The prospect of public humiliation renews my survival instinct. I remember that I have my keys in my pocket. I attempt to scale the dumpster again. I end up awkwardly perched with just my head and arms visible above the gate. I begin to turn on the car alarm. Once. Twice. Three times. Our office is next to an Applebee's restaurant. I wonder when the dinner crowd will start to arrive. It's on my fifth attempt at sounding my car alarm, that I make eye contact with a table of senior citizens in the restaurant. I wave frantically at them and make weird choking gestures to suggest that I am trapped. They seem to understand but I am not sure that they fully grasp my predicament. I continue to flail about and make mouth gestures of help. I don't know why, beyond a fear of vocal pathology, that I didn't shout help. I just mouthed it.
Finally, I see a small, elderly man walk out of Applebees. He walks across the parking lot and waves at me. He comes up to the dumpster and looks up at me. "Hmmm" he says, "Now who would go and throw a nice lady like you away?"