My friend, Sandy, invited me to her mother’s house to have a piece of her homemade Key Lime pie. I love that pie and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for a slice. I might even attend an opera (one with a long intermission…and a bar, of course).

When I got there, I was greeted with that horrible phrase no one ever wants to hear, “Oh, just one thing.”  Trust me, nothing good can come from those words. Sandy said her mom needed help moving a refrigerator from the kitchen to the driveway for the junk man. Ah, neat little, dirty trick. Just for that, I’m having 2 slices of pie.

Of course, before we could do anything, her mom, a lovely woman whose thick, gold eyeglass chains looked like they could easily double as tire chains in winter months. Very strong neck muscles, this woman.

I hate taking involuntary house tours, but really, is there any other kind?  I’ve not yet met anyone who, when visiting a friend has said, “May I please have a tedious tour of your home along with the back story of how you acquired every single piece of furniture?”  Oh my God, look, another bathroom. Wow, that’s some hamper you’ve got there. What is that, plastic?’

Next on the tour was what she called the White Room. White everything. Walls, ceiling, window frames, door knobs. One big Cumulus cloud.  “The carpet’s looped Berber,” said. “It doesn’t show footprints.” As I started to walk in, she practically stiff-armed me in the chest.  “No, no, no. We don’t  go in there.”

“Why,” I asked.   “Oh no, we just don’t,” she said. I thanked her for clearing that up for me. “Yeah, but there’s a TV mounted on the wall and a full bar,” I said.

She snapped, “Those were in there before we put the carpet in.” “Wha…?” I asked how she knows it doesn’t show footprints if nobody was allowed in.   

 Many call it the Bonus Room. The word ‘bonus’ by definition, means ‘extra,’ which, by definition means, ‘not necessary.’ SO WHY HAVE IT?

I remember speaking with my friend, Brad, who works the floor at Sammy’s Carpet World and Bagel Emporium on this very subject. He said that having an extra room that isn’t used, makes people feel successful or superior and they waste precious few minutes pointing that out. 

Martha:  And this is the room we never use.

Janet:     Why don’t you use it?

Martha: Because we’re better than you, silly.

 Brad likened it to having an 8-foot Tiger shark mounted on the wall in your den and regaling everyone with the riveting tale of how you snagged it off the Florida Keys as your boat was going under in the middle of a typhoon, when, in reality, you bought it at a garage sale in Kerhonkson last summer for $10.00. It makes you feel better about yourself. But, please keep in mind that if you do have a large fish of any type hanging in your den, it’s best to remove the sticky note with the price tag still stuck to its snout. It’ll make your storytelling much more believable.

Brad also opined that to get a more detailed reason for the ‘Bonus Room,’ one would have to go to someone a little higher up on the food chain than an assistant manager.  I understood.

So, the definitive answer remains one of the great mysteries of life. With my research now concluded, the only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that Sandy’s mother makes a killer Key Lime pie.


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