Why Does My Cat Think I’m Doctor Who—and Am I?
A Shut Door Causes a Daily Dilemma
By Ed Goldman
You probably know who Who is. He’s that extraterrestrial do-gooder who’s been played by at least a dozen actors in the staggering 57 years since the show first began airing on British tellies. The doctor is a universe-hopping Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, if you’re following along on your inter-galactic Thomas Brothers atlas.
Doctor Who’s preferred mode of time-travel is his TARDIS. Though that sounds like a good name for a Lexus model or a kids rock band that always arrives late for concerts, TARDIS actually stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. From the outside it looks like a British police box (phone booth) but on the inside is, incongruously—as though anything I’ve written so far smacks even slightly of the congruous—a multiple-story home/office/laboratory, the kind of place a real estate agent would say has “soaring ceilings and is ideal both for entertaining and destroying rogue worlds at just the click of a remote. Welcome to your new home!”
Okay, back to the Department of Earth.
Every time I walk into my first-floor bathroom and shut the door, Osborn the Magnificent, my 17.75-year-old tabby, runs over and begins to issue a series of yowls. They were movingly plaintive the first two dozen times or so but I finally came to realize he was just being melodramatic.
In the old days, my little geezer might have mistaken me for suit-clad Clark Kent, who also used to slip into phone booths but would emerge as Superman, now wearing tights, his underpants on the outside, a cape and cunning boots. I think Osborn would have known it was me, regardless of which ensemble I sported.
“That you, Who?” Photo by Ed Goldman.
But Doctor Who doesn’t just slip into his TARDIS and change outfits. He’ll leave and travel centuries away, which I think is what Osborn fears I’ll do each time I close the door on him.
I should explain why I close the bathroom door.
Even though Osborn and I are the only regular occupants of my home, which should obviate the need to shut the bathroom door and cause him distress, there’s a reason I do so. You see, I usually throw open the shutters in my living room first thing in the morning—and because my living room faces a public walkway and major thoroughfare to the east, someone walking or driving by could easily peer into my bathroom when the door’s open. Now, I’m not especially shy but I do draw the line at personal exhibitionism—and, sure, what I imagine would be the sound of distant laughter.