When the universe tilts

One of my favourite movie scenes is this: Peter Sellers, in his role as Inspector Clouseau, looks at a small dog sitting nearby. “Does your dog bite?” he asks the hotel clerk.
“No,” replies the clerk.
When the dog promptly bites Inspector Clouseau, he looks at the clerk and says this: “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite?”
“That’s not my dog,” the clerk replied.
I think this is so funny because mix-ups happen often. And most of the time, they make me laugh.
Detailed text messages that are not intended for me.
Me sending a cute photo of my cat to a friend, only it goes to an unknown recipient who doesn’t know who I am and when I apologize for the mix-up, I get this response, “Well, your cat is cute anyway.”
Last week, a friend dropped off photos taken at a recent gathering. My staff told me who dropped them off for me. I emailed my thanks. But a case of mistaken identity at our front desk led me to email someone who had nothing to do with the photos delivered to our office.
Sometimes, the universe seems to tilt for a few days. I looked after a friend’s cat for several days. I felt so sorry for him. I knew he missed his owners and he shed white cat hairs all over me in anxiety every time I picked him up. I anticipated watching the cat happily greet its owners at the end of his stay with me. But when my friends arrived to pick him up, the cat turned tail and ran away from them.
I received flowers last week as a thank you and called immediately to thank the sender. Even though there was no name on the card that came with the flowers, I was confident that I knew who had sent them.
Wrong. Note to self: Do not call to thank someone for flowers if you’re not sure.
On Saturday, I arrived home from Zumba class only to notice some big smear of white goop on my t-shirt. And yes, another big white smear on my sweatshirt. At least my ensemble was coordinated. If only someone had mentioned it, I could have at least tried to explain it all away by saying it had happened after I left home. (My favourite excuse, by the way.) But perhaps the fact that I was covered in cat hair threw people off.)
Later that day, I bought new jeans and wore them out of the store. And left the big cardboard tag on them for the rest of the day.
The same theme seemed to carry on with this week’s plethora of letters to the editor. When writers send a second, revised one, they usually apologize for the trouble. It happens once in a while. But this week was different.
Most of the letters to the editor we received were followed by revised versions. One letter was completely withdrawn. Even press releases were recalled or revised and emails arrived with no attachments.
So it isn’t just me, I thought to myself.
Yet, the struggle continues.
The hand-knit socks that I made for my daughter turned out four sizes too big. And the art print that I bought is three inches too wide for the intended frame.
But it’s not all bad. On my way home in the dark on Sunday evening, I came upon a car up ahead which seemed stopped in the oncoming lane and the headlights were flashing at me: from bright to dim repeatedly. An accident, I wondered?
Within 20 feet of the car now, I slowed to almost a complete stop. A moose crossed the road in front of my car.
In that moment, a complete stranger righted the universe when it counted most.
I kept on driving and should have stopped to say thanks.
I can’t explain why I did not do this. Put it down to the week I was having.
Or: I should say …. had.
Whoever you were, you turned things around for me when I seemingly couldn’t.
That could have been my moose. But it wasn’t.

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