Wednesday, March 13, 2013
There's nothing louder than an outraged possum...
Yep, I'm a marsupial homewrecker. The slum lord of the possum world. I'm sure they mutter about me and what an awful human I am while they do whatever it is that possum's do.
Sorry, you'll probably need a bit of back story on this one. You see, I've lived in my current place for the past twelve years. I like it there, the neighbourhood is good and the rent is cheap. But pretty much from day one I worked out that, regardless of what my lease might say, I wasn't living alone.
I think it was the first time I hopped in the shower that I realised I had a flatmate. Every time I made a noise, I'd hear a corresponding little tap against the bottom of the tub. My first thought was "Holy crap, my bath is haunted! What the hell am I going to do? Can you get a bathtub exorcised?" But a quick trip down to the carport told me what the real story was.
A possum the size of a small cat had moved in to the crawl space between the ceiling of the carport and the floor of the bathroom. When I went down there, he poked his furry little face out, glared at me, flicked me the bird, then turned around and went back to sleep with his big fuzzy butt hanging out the hole in the fibro.
But he wasn't hurting anyone by being there, so I just named him Fernando and we proceeded to co-habitate peacefully for the next twelve years. Sure, occasionally I'd wake him up suddenly by driving a little too quickly into the carport, only to be met with a hissing furball, and sure from time to time he'd knock fuses out of the power panel and plunge the house into darkness, but for the most part we got along fine.
Two hours. That's all it took to remove the fibro. Two hours to make Fernando homeless.
I haven't seen him since, but every evening now I can hear him, coming back to the carport, obviously hoping that his home will have been magically restored, only to find that he's still homeless. I'm not sure what exactly he's saying with all the snarling and hissing, but it doesn't exactly sound genteel.
The guilt is overwhelming. Twelve years is about the lifespan of a possum, and he's probably only lived that long because he had such a safe place, but it kind of feels like I've tossed a senior citizen out onto the streets to live.
I'm sorry, Fernando, it was out of my hands.