The Great Escape

This morning I found myself trapped in the pool area behind my apartment complex’s fitness center at 5 AM. It was dark, nobody else was around, and I was surrounded by a 5′ iron fence.

It may not be Monday, but it was my Monday.

I had gone down to the fitness center to check if the stationary cycle that had been on the fritz was working yet. It was not, so I exited through the back door as I typically do, but when I tried to open one of the gates to leave, it was locked. I inserted my key, but nothing happened. I tried the other gate, and got the same result. To my credit, I did not panic. I figured if nothing else I could go back through the fitness center, but once again, my key did nothing.

Then I panicked.

Well, not really. I did what anybody else would have done in that situation: tried all three locks again, twisting and pushing and pulling, because surely I must have done something wrong the first time. I’ve only been sticking keys into locks for 40 years or so, and was probably a little rusty. When that didn’t do the trick, I tried swearing. Because calling a locked gate a “cold steel bitch” while demanding it open on command is always effective.

Not to worry, though. I had my phone, and Audrey was back in the apartment. A quick call, and she’d be down to set me free in two minutes.

Only, did I mention it was 5 AM?

“I thought I was dreaming when the phone rang,” she told me later. Huh. I don’t blame the kid. What person in their right mind is up on purpose three and a half hours before he’s due at work?

This guy, who likes to work out in the mornings. But only this guy. Audrey was fast asleep and did not answer her phone. I knew she’d be up in a half-hour, and there are usually one or two others who arrive at the fitness center around 6. Either way, I was looking at a long wait in the cold darkness with no company other than a random duck who has taken up residence atop the tarp that covers the pool, which is closed for the season. And he was eyeing me skittishly, clearly debating whether he should take flight. That would have really ruffled my feathers, but it made me realize the only way out was over the fence. So, I ended up scaling it, a feat made possible thanks to a large ceramic flower pot on this side of the gate, and an air conditioning duct on that side of the gate. Both provided me with all the footing I needed, and led me to sweet, sweet freedom.

A scary few minutes, though.

It was my Monday because the real Monday was my birthday, and I took the day off from work. Tara and I drove up to the Olympic Peninsula on Saturday, exploring Port Townsend and Sequim. Our weekend getaway included a recreation of a famous Richard Gere scene in An Officer and a Gentleman, a trip to the Makah indian reservation to visit the northwesternmost tip of the contiguous 48 states at Cape Flattery, a fantastic seafood dinner in a 90-year old restaurant in Port Angeles, not one but two ferry trips across Puget Sound, and a wedding (congratulations to my MIL Tracy and her new husband (and longtime partner) David). Yeah, this weekend had it all. And now Tara and I want to move to Port Townsend. We even found a house.

That view, though...
That view, though…

Audrey is none too pleased about this. She insists on finishing high school here. Can’t say I blame her; moving is rough. Ahh, well. It’s not like we have, oh – you know – jobs up there. Maybe someday.

Here’s a link to my acting debut.

And the original scene.

Last but not least, some photos from when I wasn’t goofing around and pretending to be Richard Gere.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

9 thoughts on “The Great Escape

  1. I would have freaked out about being locked in! Glad you figured out how to scale the fence without getting hurt. That area of the USA is beautiful. I am constantly seeing the most gorgeous waterfalls, etc. of the Pacific Northwest on Pinterest. Really need to get up there sometime!


    1. Waterfalls are a dime a dozen up here…but no less breathtaking because of that. It just means we’re very lucky to have so many in close proximity! I hope you can make it out for a visit sometime – it truly is worth the journey.


  2. “Because calling a locked gate a “cold steel bitch” while demanding it open on command is always effective.”

    HA! Loved that, Mark!

    And I also have to say that I loved your video clip! That was a flawless performance! I watched both and thought you did a MUCH better acting job than Richard. I could FEEL your emotion, whereas, his performance was kinda flat.

    Gorgeous photographs! God, what a stunning place!


    1. “That was a flawless performance! I watched both and thought you did a MUCH better acting job than Richard.”

      Further proof that I should have been cast opposite Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman!”


Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: