Last night I raced home from a get together with work friends to quickly change and catch a cab to a Christmas party with my roommates. I burst through the front door, called a cab, and was half-way finished putting on my makeup when the cab company called me to say someone was waiting for me outside. Not wanting to lose my cab, I popped out the front door, phone still in hand, to holler at the cab to wait just a second while I grabbed all the stuff I needed. I didn't see the cab immediately in front of my door, so I stepped down on the stoop to look up the street.
This turned out to be my fatal error of the evening, as I stared in disbelief as someone a half a block up was climbing into MY cab! Just as I was about to step back onto the landing I heard the giant metal security gate that decorates the front of our unit slam shut. I grimaced before I turned around to look at the gate, knowing full well what I had just done. I cursed my at my lack of coat, and at my hand that did not have the keys to get back in. I knew no one else was home in my flat, so I started furiously ringing the bells of the other tenants... with no luck. I was stranded outside of my house with nothing but a party dress and my phone (which was almost dead). I immediately called my roommate and told her what had transpired, and, like the wonderful angel that she is, she said, "Don't worry, I'm on my way!" This required her to leave the aforementioned Christmas Party that she had already paid to get into. I felt terrible, but she really couldn't have been nicer.
Although my knight (ess?) in a red Christmas dress and heels was on the way, I still had about a half hour to kill....locked out of my house...in a party dress....at night...in the Mission. This is not a situation in which most girls like to find themselves.
I did a quick scan of the street and there, like a beacon of heavenly light, shone the sign for P and S Liquor, our closest corner store. The love that my roommates and I have for P and S Liquor is threefold:
Number 1: The place is literally twenty feet from our house.
Number 2: The owner, Ed, often invites us to have shots of tequila with him if we are in there on a weekend, or a weeknight. (Actually, just about anytime we go in there Ed tries to offer us free booze. Ed considers himself to be somewhat of a tequila connoisseur, so much in fact that he suggested I take my Kindergarten class on a tour of the place. "They will learn about their culture!" he suggested. I told him I would get back to him).
Number 3: The name "P and S Liquor," if slurred just right, sounds an awful lot like "penis licker." This name was discovered on an evening that may have had something to do with the generosity of Ed mentioned in Number two above.
I knew instantly that the only safe haven would indeed be the Penis Licker. I walked down to the door and burst in from the cold to find Ed's entire extended family jammed inside. They were visiting from out of town and had wanted a tour of Ed's "shop."
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" I said, shivering a little, "It's just that I locked myself out of my house. My roommates are on their way, but is it okay if I wait in here for them to come?"
I was met with the inquisitive eyes of about ten people, over half of whom were children. The kids stood with their mouths agape and their hands full of Hot Cheetos, probably wondering just where this crazy lady had blown in from.
"Robin, you came to the right place!" Ed cried, as he brought a chair out from behind the counter and placed it next to the beef jerky display. "Just sit right here and wait for your friends."
I sat down next to the peppered jerky, just opposite the Pringles and Cheeze-its, while the glow from the Red Bull novelty light kept me warm. Meanwhile, all of Ed's nieces and nephews were running around, pulling anything they could get their hands on off of the shelves, eating, and pointed at me while they whispered.
There I sat for a good twenty minutes while I pretended to be really interested in Gardetto's bags lined up in front of me. I smiled weakly at a few of the children, but they would have none of it. They did not approve of my lack of foresight, or my dress.
Eventually Bethany did call me, and after I called out a thank you to Ed and the family, I trotted back to my house to explain myself to my roommates. Again, they were wonderful, and we ended up catching a cab to a closer bar instead of returning to the Christmas party.
It turned out not to be our night, as all we managed to do at the bar was get hit on by a British man who asked me if I was a ski instructor. Waving the white flag, we journeyed home, but not before stopping to buy nachos at Taqueria Guadalajara.
Although the evening was somewhat of a bust, what I was happy to find is that there are always people who will help you out in a time of need. Whether it is giving up a Christmas Party, or offering someone a chair next to a rack of Beef Jerky, these acts of kindness really made my night. Thank you, and happy holidays!