The other morning as I walked my kids to the bus stop, a neighbor warned me that a possum had been hit by a car and was grossly squashed in the street.
“Oh, no problem!” I said. “My kids are fine with gross stuff.”
But then we arrived at the bus stop and saw that the possum was STILL ALIVE. It was in its death throes, trying to drag itself out of the street with its one functioning paw. Its pointy little possum face was all contorted in either pain or brokenness.
For a full five minutes, we watched this gruesome scene. What could I do? I thought about bonking it into unconsciousness, but the kids wouldn’t like that. My son was slack-jawed. Finally the bus came, the kids went to school, and I walked home. Poor possum.
I thought the incident was over. But the next morning when we arrived at the bus stop, the Pterodactyl said, “Look! The bloodstain’s still there!” Which it was.
And yesterday morning: “There’s the bloodstain. That was so sad.” So yes, the incident is over, except for the searing psychological damage it inflicted on my family. Also, I’m slightly afraid the boy’s going to come home with a possum one day.
The whole ghastly thing reminded me that LIFE STILL HAPPENS in this insulated gated community, despite the best efforts of many residents to whitewash the very personalities of people who live here. People die, animals die, trauma and drama occur. People break the law. Kids grow up damaged and needy, adults fall victim to addiction. Surprise!
In this week’s Folio Weekly, I wrote a guest editorial about the topic. You can read it right here. While you’re contemplating my extremely valid points, I’m going to be busy putting up a rope swing in my front yard. You know why? Partly because I’ve always wanted a rope swing. And partly because IT’S NOT ALLOWED.