While wrapping up my master’s program, I interned for a State Representative at the Texas State Capitol. For those who have never had the opportunity to wander around, the Capitol building is essentially a maze. I immediately got lost on the way to my interviews, even after the security guard at the metal detector gave me detailed directions. Luckily I ran into a very nice gentleman that walked me to the correct corridor and assured me that everyone gets lost. I had two interviews and was offered one on the spot. The office staff was awesome and laid back so I accepted.
On the first official day, I was so proud of myself for finding the office on my own, after only being lost for like 10 minutes. I was shown some of my duties and spent most of the day doing data entry. I was given a key and left to lock up the office when I was done. After everyone was gone, I needed to use the bathroom. I figured I had better go before I left anyway because Austin traffic can be horrible. I left all of my belongings in the office and ventured out to find the bathroom.
The bathroom was relatively close to the office. There was no one in there. It was late in the day and it was during the interim so there wasn’t much staff around to begin with. When I went to leave the stall, the lock handle turned and turned but the latch never retracted. I tried rattling the door. Nothing. I was trapped in the bathroom stall. I didn’t have anything with me to pry the latch open. I continued to try to get the lock to retract to no avail. After several minutes, I was preparing myself to do the unthinkable… crawl under the door on the nasty bathroom floor. Now, the floors might have been as clean as a bathroom floor can be but I still didn’t want to touch it. Feeling defeated, I tried the lock one more time. It still didn’t open. Ok, time to get out. I’m crouched down, still not touching the floor, when I hear the main bathroom door open.
I shot upright! “Ma’am?! The lock is broken and I’m stuck in here. Can you please help me?” The lady on the other side of the stall door was the sweetest Southern woman on earth. She kept saying, “Bless your little heart!” After a few minutes of struggling from her side, she managed to pry the lock open. The stall door opened and I emerged, relieved and grateful. She told me to be careful because getting locked in the bathroom is not unheard of in the Capitol building. I guess the locks are old. I thanked her profusely and went back to the office. When I was done for the day, I locked up and headed out, determined not to get lost on my way back to the parking garage.
Good thing I had gone to the bathroom before I left because I immediately got turned around and it took me a while to get out of the Capitol building only to find I came out of a totally unknown exit. I had to walk around for a bit before I found the parking garage I had parked in. It was an interesting first day but I eventually found my way around, to a very limited extent, and never ventured to the bathroom without my phone again. So let my horrible humiliation be a lesson to you. When enjoying the beauty that the Texas State Capitol has to offer, remember where you parked and venture into the bathroom stalls at your own risk!