Wisdom Through Humor
Better Living Through Symmetry

by Slo Mo


My mother once told me that every time God closes a door He opens a window, because life is all about balance.

I don't know about God (doesn't He have better things to do than play in my foyer? and why would He open a window if we have a/c?), but I do know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, which means for every decent roommate there is an equally undecent roommate-from-hell.

Take, for instance, my cousin Katrine. Kat flew home to spend a week here at the house (okay - her house) while Dog recovered from his shock-induced near-death-experience at the Palm Beach Palliative Care Center For Pampered Pooches. This meant that I'd gone from living with a friendly, hairy guy who required occasional supervision and the odd jerky treat, to living with a hostile, high maintenance chick who required my undivided attention and massive amounts of Diet Coke.

In other words: when God closed the doggy door, he opened the kitty litter.

Okay, so maybe Kat had a point about the three months' worth of dust that I'd neglected to remove from the furniture. But whereas Dog would have just given me a dirty look and sneezed on my feet, Kat wasn't even two steps over the threshold before she threw a full-out asthma fit. Gagging, choking, rolling around and turning blue - the whole nine yards. The paramedics later assured me that Kat's asthma is serious and she might have suffocated, but I don't buy it. I know a drama queen when I see one.

And whereas Dog would have simply licked his chops and continued on with his day if he'd seen my jar of Sugar-It! bikini wax in the fridge and mistook it for honey and spread it all over his morning toast, Kat took a far less sanguine approach.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you what she thought of the Lenny Kravitz photos I'd taped to the bathroom ceiling.

But the full horror of Still Life With Kat didn't sink in, not really and truly, until she marched into the den to announce that "Touched By An Angel" was coming on in five minutes. I thought she was kidding. Apparently not, though, because she returned to the room with a bowl of low-fat popcorn in one hand and an aromatherapy candle in the other, and said, "I need to watch a show that is spiritually uplifting and morally superior and which promotes a sense of kindness and brotherly love... and anyone who'd rather watch Divorce Court can go straight to hell."

Dog never complained about Divorce Court!

Suddenly, I found myself pining for the good old days when Dog wasn't in the hospital and Kat was overseas and a gal could drink vodka slush for breakfast without hearing a lecture about proper nutrition. Sigh. Good old Dog - he was the best roommate, ever.

I missed the way he'd slurp his water all over the kitchen floor and I'd walk in a few seconds later and slip on the tiles and sprain an ankle. The way we'd settle in for a quiet evening - him on the sofa with a good bone and me on the rug with what was left of the NY Times after he'd chewed on the arts section. The way he'd wake me up in the middle of the night by slamming his paw on my forehead and drooling in my ear. The way he'd dig up dead things and throw them in the pool. The way he figured out how to open the bedroom door whenever I was with a guy who couldn't perform for an audience. The way Dog would get me up early sometimes and we'd go to the Starbucks drive-thru and he'd scare the heck out of them by sticking his head in the cashier's window and then we'd drive away laughing and he'd lick the foam off my cappuccino while I wasn't looking. The way he made those Mormon kids cry...

Memorieeeeees, like the corners of my mind.

And then, two days ago, all my prayers were answered: Kat came looking for me on the beach to say she'd received an urgent transatlantic phone call from one of her clients and, while she really didn't want to, she had no choice but to leave me in charge of Dog and the house so she could return to Europe. Would I mind? And would I drop her off at the airport?

Would I?!?!?!?

So here I am, fresh from the international departures terminal, where I dumped Kat and scrammed before she could change her mind. My Sugar-It! is back in the fridge, where it belongs. Lenny is back on the bathroom ceiling. Divorce Court is back on the t.v. And there's a message on the machine from Dr. Heckle, who says Dog is ready to come back home. My life is in balance again.

If you happen to see God, would you thank him for closing that window?



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