When I first returned to L.A. and stayed at Zelda’s I began to notice change in my little dog, Maggie. She became agressive and assertive and a little bitchy. Not that she didn’t have a bit of this in her anyway, but the increasing display of these characteristics gave me pause. I mentioned it to Zelda who smiled and said, ‘Oh, she’s just become part of the pack is all.’
Personally, I didn’t find this to be good news and I began to watch Maggie’s behavior more closely. Despite her diminutive size she really threw her weight around and honestly, with the exception of the black lab and one of the cats (Zelda has nine pets in all) she pretty much got her way. I was anxious after a while to get her out of the pack mentality and back to being my sweet, fun little dog who only bossed her cat (Boodie) around.
Well, we moved and are now living in what can only be described as a rooming house. I had some trepidation about moving in – there were three other room mates and I wasn’t used to living with so many people. At least not since I was a kid and living with the folks and four other siblings. One room mate had been my max. I needed a place, to unpack, get settled and move on with my life, so I took the room despite my unease.
At first it seemed fine, people seemed to respect others’ boundaries and it seemed a somewhat calm space. Then day three hit and all hell (roomies & neighbors) broke loose and I discovered I had moved into Grand Central (more or less). The noise and activity were the least of it though when I started to notice that despite being assigned my own cabinet, counter space and fridge shelf that my stuff was being used, eaten, moved and claimed in a sense. I started to do all manner of things to protect my ‘stuff’ and somewhere in the middle of all this I realized, I too, had become a pack animal or part of the pack and apparently am/was fighting to be leader of the pack or the left alone part of the pack, not sure which. Anyway, the following are signs that you too, may be becoming a pack animal:
1. You guard/hide food and growl if room mates get too close to it.
2. You are in a battle of wills with another roomie over whether or not to keep the bathroom door closed.
3. You label your shelves and leave notes in cabinets so others won’t use your stuff.
4. A roll of toilet paper becomes tantamount to a pack of smokes in prison.
5. You move other people’s stuff so it doesn’t block your stuff
6. You long for the days when you only had one room mate
7. You’re lonely until your room mates come home and then you long to be alone.
8. You get up two hours early so you can have an extra five minutes in the bathroom.
9. You scratch at the door if someone is in the bathroom too long.
10. You lock your bedroom door when you are home.
11. You invest in a really good pair of headphones and use them all the time.
12. You have learned how to move with the stealth of a mouse so that you don’t wake the other pack members.
13. You use your fat ass to make space when you are navigating through the kitchen.
14. Whenever anyone wants to borrow anything you say no. If you say yes, you realize that whatever they are borrowing you are actually giving to them.
15. You never, ever give up your parking space in front of the house unless it’s street cleaning day.
While there may be other signs, the above is a surefire indicator that you’ve become a member of the pack.