Life is not perfect, and at every turn there are little reminders that this mortal coil is a vale of tears: an incontrollable urge to sneeze during that exquisite marriage proposal; uncomfortable theater seats at the show of a lifetime; the glorious sunset that enthralls you while the mosquitoes feast on your flesh. Pure bliss is not to be achieved in this life, and when circumstances seem most favorable, you can bet dollars to beignets that the wheel of fate will turn, and quick.
Last night I couldn't get to sleep. My pillow was hard, the bed refused to yield, and the cat (who had managed to get outside earlier) turned up like a bad penny and cried at the back door until I stumbled down and let him in. (I aimed a passing kick at him as he streaked past, but I missed.) I trudged up and climbed into bed again, and suddenly everything clicked. The mattress and pillow were gracious, the sheet was kind, the temperature was mild, and I nestled down with a sigh. Sleep held out her hands with a welcoming smile, and I was perfectly comfortable.
And the smoke detector emitted five ear-piercing bleats.
The rest of the night passed in undisturbed silence. The girls slept peacefully and the cat quietly meditated on his wrongs. But our ragged nerves allowed only fitful rest until the sky began to lighten and the birds took up their morning anthems, and at last we relaxed and drifted off.
And the alarm button glowed on the clock as the seconds slipped by...