What a Way to Start the Day
Tomorrow’s trash day and I don’t like to wait to the last minute to collect the garbage buckets around the house…especially not in the summer. So while my coffee brewed and I was still half asleep, I grabbed the smaller bins, brought them into the kitchen, and then grabbed the recyclables container. I took it outside for emptying. I looked down into the outside bin and it was full of water.
There was something floating in it.
At first I thought it was a large clump of dust from the vacuum but then noticed it was actually gray hair. I touched my own head to be sure I hadn’t suddenly lost that much off my own head. I hadn’t. I looked down again and thought; It must be a wig, who would put a wig in the recycle bin?
Ah, sweetheart, that’s not a wig.
Oh, well then…what is it?
That’s when I realized just how much water was in the bin and I remembered how hard it rained late Sunday night into early Monday morning. I started praying: Oh, please don’t be a cat, don’t be a cat, don’t be a cat…or a dog! Oh, please don’t be a cat!
Don’t scream, whatever you do next, just don’t scream.
Yes. Right. Don’t be a little pussy about it, whatever happens, whatever it turns out to be, just deal with it. Right.
Gently I tipped the bin to the side and water flooded out all over the driveway. I settled it down again and peeked inside. It was a little opossum. Dead as a door nail.
“Oh, you poor little thing,” I uttered looking down at its stiff body. It must have crawled into the bin looking for food, got stuck, the rain came, and…well…all I could think was how much it must have panicked and suffered before it finally drowned. The water was far over its little head. I wished that I’d seen it sooner, perhaps if it was in there Sunday night while we were still downstairs I might have heard it and let it out. I’m known for that, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and the like get stuck in the bins sometimes, I see them, I tip the bin over and they scamper away. I once opened the garbage bin to find 3 baby raccoons near death from the heat, they were drenched in sweat and I didn’t even know they could sweat. I let them out. Dazedly they wandered off looking back at me as if to say ‘Thank you, lady’.
There I stood wondering what to do next. If it had been a dog or a cat, presumably I’d recognize it from the neighborhood and I’d run over to its owner’s door to let them know what happened. But it wasn’t a dog or a cat. It had been dead for several days. I did the only logical thing I could and then went back inside to empty the rest of the trash and get my coffee. In the middle of pouring my first hubby called as he does every morning we chatted a bit and I told him about the opossum I found. We commiserated over its awful fate for a few moments.
Finally he said: “Well, what did you do with it?”
“Well, I emptied the water, then threw the recyclables on top of it. Tomorrow I’ll put it on the sidewalk and the garbage man will take it away.”
He cackled! OMG! Did he laugh!
I said: “I don’t see what’s so funny, what did you want me to do with it? Give it a funeral? I’m not touching it!”
He just laughed harder as he exclaimed: “That’s my pooh-bah.”
I can’t stop thinking about the poor thing out there in fact I’ve thought about it all day long. The only other thing I can do is dig out all of the cans of cat food, pick it up by the tail, and put it in the actual trash can. I really don’t want to do that. Ick. Still, it’s a very undignified end for the helpless creature. I really can’t stop thinking of how much it must have panicked as the water kept rising all around it. How much it must have struggled to stay alive and keep its head above the water. That’s just awful. How horrifying.
With that in mind, I’m sure it will make a great little scene in a book one day.
RIP in little opossum, I really do wish I’d seen you in there while you were still alive. But…how often does one just look into their recyclables bin for no reason at all? Up until today, as far as I knew, it was completely empty since I only dump the bin in the kitchen once a week. I guess I’ll have to take a peek inside it more often, you know, just in case. Doing so could save a life no matter how small or insignificant others may think that life to be.