Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Accident waiting to happen

There has been an accident waiting to happen for the last three years in the room I am currently occupying. The problem is, no one expects the mishap, and so it waits, like the rickety shelf over-stacked with books, like the trembling clothes rail in the wardrobe, for a prime opportunity.

Today was such an opportunity.

Redundancy brings with it several forms to fill in that need a legal mind to ponder over before you can wave off the whole sorry business. So today I was running around getting everything done and dusted, and between runs I came home to get spruced up (as one has to look ones best, appearances are everything) before going to my office for the last time for a final sign off. Everything I needed to take with me was in my bedroom, being stepped upon by an adventurous cat, and I had just left the room for a minute.

That was all it took.

To explain the scene – my bedroom door opens into the room, beside a wall. There is enough space for the door to open, and then straight in front is the side view of a heavy wooden dresser. Leaning on that side, facing the door, is a folding wooden chair. This was the accident waiting to happen. I always walked past it and thought, hm, better move that chair, but of course never did. So my adventurous cat moved it for me, by jumping up on the dresser, knocking the chair over onto the door, which then crashed shut.

I spun around on the landing and stared at my closed door. Oh no, I thought, as I pushed against it and realised it was jammed by the chair, which was now wedged between the door and the dresser. No! It would only open a crack, and so I had to wiggle my hand through the gap, at the cost of my wrist, to see if I could feel where the chair had fallen. There was one moment when I thought my hand had got stuck, and I had visions of me, and the cat, sitting forlornly either side of the door for the foreseeable future, but thankfully, after much wiggling, I was free. I then got a bathrrom mirror to see if I could angle it around the wedge and find out where the chair was, and this revealed the chair was practically flat to the ground. This set back turned me temporarily into a fishwife, but I wasn’t brought up on Blue Peter for nothing.

I knew I needed something strong, that could bend around a 90 degree angle and yet lift up the chair. As luck would have it, I’d bought a roll of Christmas wrapping paper, and it was still on the landing. So I jammed that around the gap, and waggled everything ferociously for a few minutes, and to my great relief and supreme thankfulness the chair moved, and the door opened. It was a happy moment, for both me, and my inquisitive little tabby cat, who just gave me an enquiring ‘meow?’ as she walked regally out of the room.

The chair is now firmly out of harm’s way, but have I learnt my lesson? The clothes rail creaks ominously as I hang away my coat. After all, what is the worst that could happen?


Ben said...

Take pride in the knowledge you can remain not only calm, but calculating in a crisis. The last time I encountered an accident waiting to happen I just ran around looking like I was about to burst in tears, whilst swearing as if I'd shut my finger in the door.

Jayne said...


Calm and calculating - gosh that sounds a lot better than I felt at the time! I think it was born of desperation - the form I needed to take with me was in the shut bedroom, and time was ticking for my train... as it was I had to stop off at Boots to get a bandage to cover my hand and wrist as it looked like redundancy had sent me over the edge... Not the look I was hoping for in this final meeting, to be honest!