Thursday, September 9, 2010

I hate my possum

    I hate the possum that lives in my roof. The possum that lives in my roof is not cute like the possum in this picture. The possum that lives in my roof is evil. If it just lived there quietly, spending its days sleeping or doing crossword puzzles, I could handle it. But it’s a noisy possum. And it gets down into the walls, so that when I’m sitting at my desk writing it’s about fifty centimetres away from me, scratching, scrabbling and swearing. I’ll say it: I wish my possum was dead.

     A few months ago there was a bad smell in my garden. It was a dead possum. I was delighted, mostly because my Mum came over and disposed of it in the wheelie bin, but also because I thought it was my possum, and that it had been good enough to die outside. But it wasn’t my possum, because my possum is still here. And it has a girlfriend. I know this because they like to wait until I’m asleep and then scream at one another.

     After it scrabbles and scratches and swears each evening, my possum finally gets back up into the ceiling and makes its way to its exit point – which is right above my bedroom window. Then it bounces across the tin roof, flings itself into the trees, and I get a few hours sleep before it claws its way back into the roof at about five a.m. every morning. God, I hate that possum.

      I bought my possum it’s own house and set it up in the carport, but I am too afraid to entice it with fruit or bread because I am afraid I will entice something else instead. Like a python. I read a story in the local paper a few months ago about a man in Ingham whose ceiling caved it under the weight of a massive python. I am more scared of pythons than I am annoyed by possums, but only just.

     I want to evict my possum, which is harder than it sounds. For starters they are a protected species, which means I can’t hurt it. I can’t legally do more that mildly inconvenience the little bastard. I am able, if I can, to trap the possum and remove it from my roof, on the condition that I don’t remove it further than fifty metres. Fifty metres? Come on, it could still see my house from there!

     I also have the expensive alternative of trapping the possum, keeping it contained in the trap for no longer than a day, and having the hole in the roof fixed during that period. As someone who has previously had to co-ordinate tradesmen, I know from experience that, even before you add a possum to the mix, this is not an easy task. My roof was put on in 1927, or at least that’s when the original electrician signed his name on the roof trusses, and I’ m guessing that it has more than one hole for a canny possum to exploit. Also, possums can peel back tin. How unfair is that? I could spend all that money and be right back where I started.

     I want to develop a live and let live sort of philosophy, since that would make my inherent laziness seem like a virtue, but I can’t ignore the fact that my possum is unsanitary and potentially dangerous. Unsanitary, because I’m certain it doesn’t pop outside to use the toilet. And potentially dangerous because I live in a timber house. Once, at work, we got a call from Queensland Fire and Rescue about a possible house fire. The cause? A flaming possum running though the house.

     Note to self: Get rid of possum.
     Note to possum: Do not chew on tasty electrical wires.    


  1. First, my sympathy for the impatience and utter exhaustion this possum has brought.

    But I love the word "wheelie bin." It makes it sound like you Aussies are always having fun.

    And I'm definitely memorizing this for the next time I'm asked a question I don't want to answer: "I want to develop a live and let live sort of philosophy, since that would make my inherent laziness seem like a virtue, but I can’t ignore the fact that my possum is unsanitary and potentially dangerous."

  2. Well, it's not all bad. It's given me something to post about! I'm trying to be a glass-half-full type of person!

    And what do Americans call wheelie bins?

    There is a very old, very bad joke where the bin collector goes up to a bloke and says "Where's your bin?"

    The bloke says, "I bin on holidays."

    "No," says the garbo, "Where's your wheelie bin?"

    "Well, I wheelie bin in jail, but don't tell anyone."

  3. When I bin wheelie binging on holidays, I don't get in my wheelie mobile. :-)

    But really, I thought you meant a wheelbarrow, but thanks to wiki, it seems you meant a garbage/trash can or waste basket, but on wheels. Here we do things the hard way.

  4. I didn't realise wheelie bins were culturally specific! I figured everyone had them, and just called them different things. How strange you don't have them!



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