Thursday, May 3, 2012
The other night I looked out my kitchen shutters, and this is what I saw:
It was Johnny Rotten. Obvious burglar is obvious.
I stuck my head outside to say hello. I think he thought that if he didn't make eye contact with me, he remained invisible. This was not the case, and he probably realised the jig was up when I subjected him to a rant about breaking and entering, squatters' rights and rental agreements, and evolution. Which, by the way, must be a total lie. How can I have opposable thumbs and be constantly bested by a possum? Explain that, Darwin!
Possums, obviously, are a very adaptable species, if not in the Darwinian sense of the word than at least in the general sense. Other native species, koalas for example, are not adaptable. If you build a suburb on koala habitat, that's it, it's all over for the koalas. But not the possum. You build a suburb where the possums live, and they'll move in with you. Literally. They will peel the tin back on your roof and move into your ceiling cavity. On hot days they'll descend into the wall cavities, and thump and rustle around while you're on the computer trying to get that chapter sorted out, and you can't concentrate because now the possums are having a screaming domestic, and you have to bang on the wall and shout: "Shut up! I'm trying to write! Why won't you just go outside and die!?!!?"
I am speaking from experience here. Nightmarish, harried experience.
Anyway, I decided that Johnny Rotten had to be moved from my kitchen shutters. If I can teach my dog to sit, and she remembers how to do it at least 30% of the time, and obeys at least 8%, then surely I can teach a possum that my house is out of bounds?
I was quite nervous when I reached out to touch him. I mean, I know possums are kind of cute and I know I talk them up that way, but they're still also wild animals, with teeth and claws. Probably lice as well, and ticks.
They're also kind of fuzzy and soft. At least, Johnny is.
I grabbed an old towel. Not a lot of use as a shield, but at least something to staunch the bleeding if this went bad. I took a deep breath.
I grabbed him. He didn't even struggle.
I said soothing things in a low murmuring voice to him. He was a tight little ball of muscle, but he didn't try to scratch or bite.
I carried him over to the wheelie bin and gave him a banana. He ate it, eyeing me suspiciously.
We stared at each other in the gloom. I shook my head and snorted, and he gave it a moment just to prove he wasn't intimidated, then headed up into the passionfruit vine.
I think we're friends now.