The event organizer pulled names from a hat to determine the order of readers, and lucky me, I got second to last. Plenty of time for my nerves to do their little dance around my body. But, when my time came, my voice carried through the room, the audience laughed at the right times, and they applauded at the end.
I may be able to get my hands on a video/audio recording in the future, but for now, here's my truncated version, which I titled "The Trashcan is Alive."
Sometimes taking out the trash can be terrifying for me. Rolling down the bumpy alley along the side of the house makes the trash can lid settle, pushing air out of the trashcan onto my hand, and it feels like something is breathing on my hand from inside the trashcan. It’s a creepy feeling, but it’s all in my head, right?
I have good reason to fear the discovery of unfriendly living creatures in my refuse. Why? Simple: because it’s happened before.
I live alone with my kids, and I hold my own, most of the time. There was one major exception a few years ago: I was home alone in the afternoon cleaning up from my dinner preparations before leaving to pick up the kids from daycare. I had a recyclable container, so I did what I always do: rinsed it out, opened the back door, leaned out, and tossed it into the near by recycling bin. Until that container reached the bin, all was well. Then it landed, and the recycling bin hissed at me.
Recovering my composure after doing an impressive Nosferatu impression, I leaned over to glance inside the bin, thinking I was prepared for anything. I am still in disbelief at what was inside. A possum.
“But wait,” you’re about to ask me, “Don’t opossums ‘play opossum’ when they feel threatened?” That question entered my mind as well, but I had clear evidence that this is not a hard and fast rule for the species. This bugger was pissed. It was ready to fight for its right to go through my refuse… In the middle of the day, I realized. And yes, before you ask, possums are nocturnal. Now we’re all thinking the same thing: rabid possum, yay! Right.
At this point, I closed the door and assessed the situation as I finished things up inside. I was on my own, and there was a possibly rabid opossum stationed a foot away from the door that I usually use when returning home with my two small children. Great.
Thank goodness my dad worked nearby! I called him at work, gave him the extremely abridged version of my situation, and asked if he could stop by on his way home to see if he could help. I might also have mentioned exactly where I kept my shovel, as well as which part of the garden needed fertilized. He said he’d attempt to do what he could, and I used the front door to leave.
I picked up my kids, and when I returned my dad was leaving. He handed me the freshly washed shovel and told me that my recycling bin was possum free and that the back corner of the garden probably wouldn’t need fertilizer for a while.
But, if you’re ever driving by my house after dark on a Monday night and see me running down the alley like a lame gazelle, please don’t worry or call in the men in white coats, I’m just having an opossum flashback. It will pass.