Under Lock and Key

Sometimes we’re not meant to find out what’s behind door No. 1 — or door No. 2.

My fingers were getting really cold as I tried to open the lockbox and get the key out so I could open the door, but it was to no avail. All those years of opening my high school locker and, well, I was clearly out of practice.

I had just flown to Denver to meet up with some friends for a weekend of skiing. They were also all flying in from work assignments and had left me the key outside of their front door in a lockbox. Actually there were two lockboxes, but I picked the one that seemed, to me, the most logical place for the key.

I fished around in my jacket pocket, looking for the phone number my friends had left me. Steve was a “tribesman” to have dinner with while everyone else still worked their way into town. I punched the number into my phone and a voice I had never heard before said, “Hello.” His voice was truly an answer to my prayers, and to the alternative of spending more time shivering.

I responded, “I’m looking for my knight in shining armor — is he available?” The line was silent, until I laughed and identified myself as Rod and Amy’s friend.

The friendly voice on the other end of the line said, “I’ve been expecting your call.”

“Yeah, well I just got here and I can’t get into the house. Could you come and rescue me?” So much for good first impressions, I thought.

My plan was to call Steve after I had gotten in the house, brushed my teeth and put some makeup on. But my plan was foiled. I definitely was not looking too glamorous as I waited outside, wearing summer clothing with a ski jacket.

Over the phone, Steve also tried to talk me through opening the lockbox, with no results except that I got colder. I have traveled around the world solo for months at a time, jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, and yet there I stood, stumped by a door and in need of rescue from the elements.

My savior appeared. Within moments he picked the correct lockbox — not the one I had been messing with — and opened the door for me. Steve was a really good sport and didn’t make me feel completely foolish. I guess he didn’t have to, as I was totally cracking myself up. Moments later, we jumped into his car and headed out to dinner.

In the Cherry Hill area of Denver, I saw my golden opportunity as we walked by an art gallery. Now was the time for the big impressive comeback from looking ridiculous, I thought. I pointed out a huge chandelier in the gallery window, created by the great glass artist Dale Chihuly. Steve had never heard of Chihuly, so I had a chance to appear cultured, even if my first impression had been one of being totally clueless.

Then we wandered into the restaurant next door. Dinner was great, and Steve was thoroughly thoughtful and considerate. We stopped to get a drink afterward and somehow began a discussion about people who are high-maintenance. Steve said most people are high-maintenance, and wanted to know, in which ways was I high-maintenance? I shrugged my shoulders and responded that I like skiing, traveling and having fun. Nothing I said registered as demanding, until I mentioned that I like getting flowers.

You would have thought I had just asked him to place a down payment on a Learjet. It was the a-ha moment of the night. Suddenly, my knight looked at his damsel in distress in pure horror.

What can I tell you? When I was growing up, my dad always brought my mom flowers for Shabbat. And, I admit it, I love flowers. Having my house filled with them always brightens up the atmosphere and makes me smile.

At the end of the night, back at the house, Steve faced me. Then the kiss-of-death compliment fell out of his lips: “You know my father would really love you.”

I managed not to burst out laughing, and instead just smiled.

I had a lot of fun with Steve, and maybe that’s what really matters. Truly, one never knows when the right door opens, and no matter how independent you are, it’s always great to have a knight in shining armor there to rescue you.

Now if only I could find one who shows up with flowers.

Masada Siegel is a freelance writer in Scottsdale. Contact her at fungirlcorrespondent@gmail.com.


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