The Double Edged Coin

Jamie and I have went through our fair share of roommates in these last 4 years together. They will come in and dwell in our dingy basement living quarters for several months, then usually move on to bigger and better things. There has only been one person to stay a considerable length of time, this person was my brother, Dustin.

Initiating his move into our home was easy, very little precaution was placed onto this decision. Really, how hard could it be? We lived together for 14 years anyways…Incorrect assumption! It is an entirely altered state of affairs; growing up with a sibling is poles apart from living with one as an adult. You have the good within the bad. A double edged coin really.

In those two and a half years Dustin resided in our unfinished-blanket for walls-basement, I encountered several different  episodes of  ill at ease moments. One of which I will share with you today.

My household was buzzing with the excitement of Dustin’s new dog. Lars being 1 at the time was aghast at the new member of the family and enjoyed the pups (Ace) company immensely. Jamie on the other hand was not all sunshine and buttercups about having a canine residing in our subterranean vault, but with a little sweet talking from me, he was allowed to stay as long as he stayed in the basement with Dustin.

A few weeks and a few pairs of shoes later, Ace was settling in nicely. Although his chewing and barking was getting a little out of control, and the neighbours were not enthused with the constant voyages into their yards, not to mention the fetish of anything garbage related…We loved that dog.

This particular night, all is calm in the Canine region of the home. While snuggled cozily in bed with a book and just about to retire my read for the night, I hear a familiar whining coming up from the floor vent. Oh great, here we go, that damn dog is at it again. Well Dustin is home tonight, he can deal with the thing. It continues. It does not stop, but gets louder a sort of howling that bears a certain vocal resemblance to a record player that has been far to overplayed. Well there is no way I can fall asleep to this butchery, I think, so I aggressively smash my foot onto the floor-Giving my brother the warning signal that I AM PISSED. This is when I hear the dog yelp and then start a full out barking regime and Dustin screaming obscenities at the peak of his will. OK this is enough, I have a baby sleeping up here, time to go do some damage control! I stomp my way downstairs, the whole time thinking of the speech I will calmly say to my brother in regards to his idiotic idea of getting this dog in the first place, and when I am done I will tell him he either gets some organization over the circumstance or Ace goes…I said none of this. I said none of this because as soon as I opened that basement door, I saw something that would regrettably etch into my retina and stay there for days to come.

There is Dustin, disciplining the dog for making such a commotion. One hand on the dogs head and one on his hind quarters pinning Ace to the floor and repeating the mantra “Lay down and shut up.” This is not what shocks me…It is the fact that Dustin, at this time, is wholly and outright naked. Not a stitch of clothing on him, and as I described before in a very confrontational position. It is the classic train wreck quandary, my eyes  may have well blistered a little from witnessing my 21 year old brother in such a state, but I am frozen on the spot. My mind is screaming, “RUN LINDSAY, RUN AS FAR AS YOU CAN, GET AWAY FROM THIS PLACE!’ But my body is frozen with shock. The foreboding knowledge that ‘Jesus Christ I am going to have to face him again after this night’ begins to tiptoe in and it is all I can do to say, “Oh my god, I-ugh, oh uh, sorr…” This is when he turns his head backwards towards the door, almost as if replicating the little girl off the ‘Exorcist’ and says in a hoarse voice, “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” And I do get the hell out of there.

The next morning, as my sneaking suspicion promised, is on the murky side of uncomfortable. I try to fully steer clear of my brother but in a small house on the weekend, this task is harder to accomplish than imagined. “So, about last night…I was about to fall asleep when that stupid dog started barking…”

“Oh ya man, I get it, totally cool. Sorry I barged in on you like that.”

“Ya knocking might be a good plan next time.”


It didn’t take long for the awkwardness to fade out, and become just another funny memory, and I guess that is what the perks of living with siblings are. It doesn’t matter how many compromising situations you find each other in, there is no (or very little) judgment to be passed, after all; you are running off the same blood line.

It has been just under a year now since Dustin has moved out and into a freshly built home of his own. Today, November 28th is his birthday, and it is times like this when I think of that double edged coin reminding me of how much I miss him…And how happy I am to have him just pop by for a  visit, fully clothed.Image



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