Possum Adventure

I helped save a possum on the way to work this morning!

I was, therefore, late for work, but totally worth it.

Now, I was already struggling this morning, and today will be a long day, just for how exhausted I am. For various reasons that I won’t get into. I was walking to the subway, headphones on, and saw a lady I know from early morning walks with Brody. She often has treats for him, and nuts and seeds for wildlife along the way. Super nice lady, if somewhat eccentric-seeming.

Anyway, she flagged me over, so I took off my headphones and shut my MP3 player off completely when she pointed to the frightened possum hanging out in the doorway of a business on Yonge Street. It was very busy and loud by then, and the poor critter was very much regretting his poor life choice.

Someone had found an empty cardboard box and stuck part of a cucumber in it, to see if the possum would climb into the box of its own accord, but it was still pretty far away from the little fella, and the possum had not moved from its spot in the corner of the entrance area. We definitely did want to spook it into traffic, or anything, so I placed a call to Toronto Wildlife Centre and left a message to let them know where the possum was, and to ask that they come check it out and then help relocate it.

Another woman had also called an left a message, so at that point I was considering just continuing on my way, but I’d also left my phone number on the message, and wasn’t sure what I would do if TWC called back with instructions, or something. So I stayed a little longer, estimating how early they’d be checking messages, and wondering if I should just wait. I texted a pic of the critter to my manager and said I’d be a bit late, but I didn’t have much of a plan at the time. Was just waiting and thinking and chatting with the lady who’d flagged me down in the first place.

Then a slightly older lady came along, and stopped to see what was going on. We told her that at least two of us had called to notify TWC already, and she said she was going to go get her husband because she thought they could trap the possum and drive it out there themselves. At that point, I decided to stay long enough to see how things turned out with the little guy.

It took some time, and the one lady and I basically played at guard duty while we waited, making sure dogs passing by didn’t notice the critter, and keeping an eye out in case the possum tried to make a run for it. Neither of us know anything about possums or their general behaviour in the wild, so we speculated on a few thoughts, but really – we knew we needed to do a bit more research after it was all over. Other than playing possum, which was not really helpful in this situation. This one was shivering in fear so violently that we could see its ears vibrating. Poor wee heart.

Anyway, the other woman returned with her husband in tow, and he was carrying all the tools of the wildlife rescue trade – or so it seemed to me. He had a sturdy plastic bin, a wooden board which would act as a lid, heavy duty rubber gloves, a box cutter and duct tape. Wasting no time, he swooped in to trap the possum between the glass doorway and the bin opening, then slid the board down through that same gap, which effectively shuffled the possum into the bin and kept it in there with the heavy board on top as he tipped it all upright. He used the tape to fasten the board on in such a way that it was secure yet still let in plenty of air, and carried the possum package to his car.

I called TWC and left a second message to let them know that the possum was on its way to them, and could they please give it a quick check-up to make sure it wasn’t injured before returning it to the area from whence it came. I then headed to work, but of course took a moment to post a photo of the little guy to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. By the time I got to the subway, my employer’s Twitter account had liked the tweet, and by the time I got to work, TWC had liked the Instagram post.

I think within about an hour of my arrival at work, I got a phone call from TWC to let me know the possum had arrived safe and sound, and was in a dark, quiet space having a bite to eat and something to drink. The girl there said that wildlife often make bad life choices, especially when it comes to being home before the sun comes up, so the possum was probably fine, but they would check first to be sure. She also said that the man who’d brought the possum in had offered to go back and get it, and return it to a quieter place in the same area, if it was deemed healthy and ready to be put back into the wild. I thought that was pretty stellar of him, too, actually. It turns out that couple lives on my same street, so it was definitely a Keewatin kind of effort being put forth!

Just a short time ago, I got a notification from TWC on Twitter. They said that “he” is a “she”, and that she has at least one joey in her pouch! They also said they didn’t find any sign of injury, so she should be back in the ‘hood very soon.

How cool is that? I helped save a mama AND her baby from some uncomfortable at the least, fatal at the most, circumstances this morning! And still got to work only about a half hour late overall, which is much better than I worried it might be!

Good deeds are a nice way to start the day, I have to say! Yay Mama Possum! Rest up, and stay safe when you get back home!

Mama Possum

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Alone Not Lonely

I read a post this morning online about women alone, as compared to men, in our society. It was interesting, and while some of it I’m not sure I agree with, the majority of it I found quite relatable.

I should probably include a link to the post, in case you want to see what I’m talking about. You can read it here, if you like.

So, there’s some discussion about how men are essentially allowed to be alone – we call them bachelors and they have their bachelor pads and man-caves and the like. There isn’t really a word for women who are alone – at least none that have positive connotations. Spinster, witch, crazy cat lady – it’s treated as an unnatural state for women to be in. Normal women are in relationships and surrounded by family and friends most of the time. It’s what we all aspire to, whether that’s because we were raised to, or society impresses that upon us, or whatever. Women can only lead happy, complete and fulfilled lives if there are other people around, whereas men can either let themselves get “tied down”, or hang out by themselves and enjoy their bachelorhood. They can choose, and both options are seen as perfectly acceptable. Women…not nearly so much.

Which I can kind of see, I guess. I hadn’t really thought about it – perhaps because I never really felt like I fell very squarely into either category, as far as general society is concerned. I think, to me, it’s more been the impression that preferring to spend time alone is often viewed as selfish, or antisocial, or the result of some sort of psychosis. Or some/all of the above. It feels, to me, as though it’s perceived with disdain in some regards. As a child, getting sent to one’s room is meant as a punishment, but I liked being in my room. I’d read, nap, write, play alone with Star Wars action figures, colour, listen to music – tons of things. I had a good imagination, and was very good at entertaining myself. Punishment for me would be to be forced to go outside and play. But technically I enjoyed that, too, so I guess it’d be more like, “go outside and find some friends to play with!”

Noooooo…..

The horror.

I think I’ve mentionned before that I would be an excellent shut-in type personality, if I could work from home. I would probably only leave to walk the dog. And now that I live with a dog again, I don’t really want to spend much time NOT living with a dog, so hopefully I will always be surrounded by animals and unconditional love. And we would go for walks together, because that requires very little effort on my part to be enjoyable for him. I pretty much just have to show up, and Brody is happy. He doesn’t even care what mood I am in – he’s just glad I’m there and that we’re outside together. I never have to, as the article thingy says, “arrange my face in a way that someone else would understand”. That goes for time spent in the company of animals, and time spent in the company of no one. Both are rather liberating, and I enjoy lots of either when I come across it.

But is that selfish? It’s antisocial, I guess, though I would also argue that it’s an excellent way to recharge my batteries so that I have the capacity to be more social as occasion warrants. Being “on” all the time takes a toll, after all. It certainly feels selfish, the idea of telling someone I’d rather be alone than hang out with them. So I try not to do that very often, because I don’t like feeling as though I’m not taking another’s needs into account in favour of catering to my own. Which I’m told would be a totally healthy thing to do, but it doesn’t feel good, so I don’t do it if I can help it!

The flip side, of course, is that I am also painfully aware of my inability to be a good friend or partner to anyone. So much time spent alone means that spending time with anyone else, or a group of anyone elses, is a huge thing for me. It’s stressful, and exhausting and taxing and frightening and overwhelming – along with all the good things it can also be, like fun, hilarious, emotionally-uplifting, creative…time with people you care about is priceless, really. It can take a load off, carry you forward, pick you up, and also recharge your batteries, just in a different way.

For me, so much time alone means that I get all that in theory, but have had very little practice, and am constantly noticing when I screw up, but haven’t quite figured out how to fix it when I do. Sometimes it’s a little like navigating a mine field, in a way. Like, do people actually want to hear what another person thinks? Or would they rather be listened to without judgement? It may seem like that depends on the person, but it also depends on the mood the person is in at that moment. And I’m terrible at picking up cues. Terrible.

I used to joke that I never knew if someone was flirting with me, which is true, but it’s also true for, like, everything. Realizing too late when I’ve pissed someone off, or hurt someone, or just misunderstood something and made another person feel un-heard or under-valued or un-loved. It’s like what’s happening in my mind is either way slow or way off whatever’s happening for the other person, and by the time I figure out what was going on for them, the damage is already done.

I feel like I’m behind and playing catch-up almost all the time. Like everyone else made the jump and I’m still back near the start, only just now realizing that everyone but me has already moved on.

That makes me not easy to be with. I don’t know if I am easy to talk to as a friend – I assume that also depends on the person and the mood and the situation. But I know it’s not as fulfilling as it could be, were I better at it. I’m definitely not an easy person to be in a romantic relationship with. Sometimes I feel like I should apologize to everyone who’s ever dated me, though logically I know that’s ridiculous and that no one is perfect. I do wonder if knowing how much I struggled, and that I did so because I wanted to be with them, would make any difference, though. Sometimes.

I guess the fact that I find it hard to communicate with others, while often preferring my own company to that of other people, makes me at least lazy – if not completely selfish – when I opt to be alone. It’s just easier. But also enjoyable, and rejuvenating in its own way. So there’s that.

And when I do choose to inhabit space and time with other people, it’s because I really want to. Not because I am desperate for companionship, or that I need to be in a relationship in order to feel fulfilled, or that I’m afraid to be alone, or any of the other assumptions that can be made. It’s because I want to be with that person or those people at that time. I love my alone time, I love not having roommates, I love not having to arrange my face. Being around other people means I have to give those things up, and even though I do my best, I know it’s not always what is needed or even wanted by said others.

When I choose to sacrifice those things I love and hang out with other people instead, there are various reasons for doing so. Some aren’t even that flattering or well-intentioned to mention.

Sometimes, though, I forego those things I love simply because I love you more.