Checks under the bed
Then under the dresser
He looks at the bathroom
I pull out my Beretta
He walks up to the bathroom
He goes up to the bathroom
Now he’s at the bathroom
Damn he’s opening the bathroom?
Yeah. That’s right. In true R. Kelly style, my mate got trapped in the bathroom. Regrettably, he wasn’t carrying his Beretta and was therefore unable to blast the lock off and escape. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Bucharest, Romania (31st July to 2nd August)
So it’s our final day in Bucharest and the final day of our travels. I’ve just had a shower and am applying all the essential toiletries. As I start to put my clothes on, I hear my travelling buddy unlocking the bathroom door. But it doesn’t unlock. I pull my shorts up and stick on a vest, thinking he’ll appear momentarily. But he doesn’t. So I head on over to help him. I try the lock from my side. Nothing. I ask him to try to lift or pull the door in some way while twisting the lock. Nothing.
He’s trapped in the bathroom.
I’m in the closet, like man, what the fuck is going on?
We’re staying in an Airbnb, so our immediate instinct is to contact the owner. I give her a ring and she clearly thinks we’re being a bit silly, but decides to come over anyway. In the meantime, I track down a screwdriver and unscrew whichever parts of the lock I can from my side. There’s a tiny opening at the back of the bathroom, which is looking increasingly like a prison cell window. I hand my friend the screwdriver and he unscrews everything that he can from his side. Then we realise that this doesn’t really make any difference. So we look towards the hinges….but the screws are inside the door frame.
I said, “Why don’t I just go out the window?”
Our host arrives and surveys the situation. Naturally, our next question is whether it might be possible for the boy in the bathroom to climb out the window. Unfortunately, there’s a three-floor drop onto a solid concrete base, so this is not an option. The owner quickly loads up some lock-picking videos and scrambles a hair clip and safety pin together. I’m tasked with straightening out the metal in preparation for busting our man out. But, in a blow to all xenophobes and Brexiters, our Romanian Airbnb’er is not a hardened criminal who can pick locks. The plan flops.
But things get deeper as the story goes on
At this point, time is getting tight. We’ve got a flight to catch and it’s not looking like we’re any closer to opening the bathroom. A deeply emotional exchange begins. On the one hand, I feel the strong desire to show solidarity and support for my friend and stick with him while he’s trapped in the bathroom. On the other hand, Ryanair are running our flight and will be all too pleased to charge us €100 each if we both miss the flight. Ultimately, rationality wins over feelings. And besides, my imprisoned pal is one of those cool cats who meditates, so he has already accepted his lack of control over the situation.
Right now, I’m sweating like hell
I jump in an Uber and head towards the airport. Obviously, I’m pretty stressed and concerned about leaving my mate in the bathroom. However, the driver is a chatty guy, so we talk about his ambitions to ride Uber in London or Paris. The wage disparity between Romania, the UK and France is actually pretty mad, but I don’t have too much time to think about this, as my chauffeur starts telling me that Romanian girls love dick. Anyhow, I’m at the airport on time, so I tip Mr Uber, get to the check-in and ensure that they leave a boarding pass for my buddy.
Now I’ve got this dumb look on my face
The Airbnb hosts rings me with news that the bathroom is open. Yes! I head through security, nab myself a falafel and devour it before arriving at the gate. I’m ringing my friend, but there’s no response. I explain our situation to the Ryanair assistant and he tells me that I have to get on the flight and can’t wait for another passenger at the gate. As loathe as I am to get on the plane without my man, I realise that I have no idea if he’s even at the airport yet. So I approach the plane.
Next thing you know, a call comes through on my cell phone
I’m stood just outside the cabin, trying to explain to the air hostess that our missing passenger is most definitely on his way through security and that we need to wait for him. Then my phone rings. It’s our bathroom boy! But there’s nobody at check-in and no boarding pass. I’m informed that check-in closed three minutes earlier. With regret, I strap myself in and the plane takes off…
R. Kelly, we feel your pain.