So, we are checking out of the IKEA, just outside of Lisbon, and Maggie, my 11 year old, has to go the bathroom. My dad says that he will take her. Fine. Good plan. We wait in what seems like an endless line up; we check out. Next, we buy some treats at the Swedish food store and I finally realize that Maggie and my dad haven’t returned from the WC. Just as I go to look for them, Maggie comes running towards me. Her face is red. She had clearly been crying. My dad’s face was red. He had clearly been laughing.
Apparently, Maggie went in the stand alone wheelchair bathroom, actually called a ‘deficient bathroom’ in Portuguese. She locked the door and when she went to get out, she couldn’t. My dad was waiting at the door and he heard her screaming and then trying to kick the door down. He calmly, through his laughter, tried to coach her, but to no avail. Panic had set in. Security was called and the door was opened. That should be the end of the story, for a normal family. We are not a normal family.
Pippa and my mom decided they needed to go the bathroom too. Maggie, mustering courage, said she would take them to the bathroom. She took them to the same wheelchair bathroom. Each one did their business and then Maggie tried to open the door. Nothing. Then Pippa tried. Nothing. Then my mom tried and she still couldn’t get it. Meanwhile, my dad, brother and I are sitting on a bench very nearby. My priest husband, had left to go to the customer service counter to deal with a discrepancy in our bill.
My dad, brother and I notice the door being kicked from the inside and we start to laugh. Not the chuckle kind of laugh…the one that makes you stop breathing. The gasping for air kind of laughter. We hear Maggie yelling help, repeatedly. Then we see this woman passing by…a Good Samaritan. She puts her ear to the door. We hear my mom say, that they are stuck. I kid you not, by this time I was doubled over in laughter.
The Good Samaritan rushes away and still we hear the calls for help and the kicks at the door. My dad, through tears of laughter, asks me if I am going to help them. The truth was, I couldn’t remember the last time anything made me laugh more, and I laugh often. I had to watch the scene play out for longer.
Less than three minutes later, the Good Samaritan returns. She tells them that she had contacted security. My brother, who had to look away from the scene because he said he thought he would faint from laughter, just starting crying, “she contacted security.” This was the end for us. The thought of my mom and two daughters unable to open a European door and thus trapping themselves in the bathroom, brought me endless joy.
Then my priest joins us. He sees us in laughter pain. Tears streaming down our faces. He wants in on the joke. When I tell him, he is horrified that we didn’t try to help them. I tell him that if he moves a muscle, I will kill him in his sleep. This was pure gold.
Just then, the security guard shows up. He knocks on the bathroom door and he opens the door up. My mom and daughters emerge. They look unimpressed. They see us all laughing. They all insist that the door would not open. Some invisible lock must have been activated. It wouldn’t budge. In their defense, the security guard did mess with the door afterwards…doing what, I cannot say. All I know for sure, is that today was a good day. This will warm my heart for a long time to come.