02 April 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, comes this lovely essay written for the newspaper's blog, about the horrors of being a motorist who cannot stop in time to save a life. I encourage everyone to read it for its beauty and compassion.

I have written the author privately to thank her for expressing the experience so well.



Poetikat said...

I haven't done it yet, but I feel her pain. The aftermath, the way she decribes the "busy, dark spot" is chilling in its way.
I have made it a policy when I see a squirrel at the roadside, to honk my horn. They all seem to have this inclination to get midway across a road and without warning change their minds, as if they've forgotten something at the side of the road where they started. I think that's why so many get hit. So, I am eagle-eyed as I drive through my neighbourhood, peripheral vision ever-alert for any twitch of black, grey or brown. When it catches my eye, I slow to a crawl (the car(s) behind me, be damned!) and honk. They will always stop their progress and turn back to safety. Anyone reading this, try it. I've got my husband doing it now too. Our neighbours think we're batty, but, hey, they knew that when we moved in with 4 cats and no kids. It's all worth the dirty looks.

squirrelmama said...

It is very much worth the dirty looks, and I do this sort of thing every day. Not just a polite honk either but a real all-out blast of the horn to shock them back to reality.
I worry constantly and, sorry to say, sometimes I have even stopped for bits of debris in the road thinking they were one of my friends....only to find out it was corrugated cardboard!

Poetikat said...

I once had my husband turn around on a busy 2 lane highway to go and "rescue" a dog by a chain-link fence, only to discover it was a garbage bag! We still laugh over that one. I had it all planned out - how we would introduce it to the cats and where it would sleep. Until I saw the dark green plastic pasted up to the fence.
I have honked at lots of things thinking they were alive. I think the two of us will probably end up senile old ladies babbling about our critters one day.

squirrelmama said...

OK, as long as we are trading embarrassing stories, I may as well fess up. I am not a big fan of the American 4th of July, it is a noisy holiday, upsets animals and is a good excuse for people to get drunk and blow off their body parts with firecrackers. That said, I will relate this tale of a few years ago, when I was convinced for some reason that someone was going to do harm to squirrels on July 4. Don't ask me why I got that idea in my head but I did. And so sure enough, on that day, as I was walking along the edge of our property, I saw a white plastic bag, somewhat opaque but rather suspicious. On closer examination it revealed what I feared - something inside that was badly bloodied, something horrible, oozing and loose and obviously upsetting. I began to cry, I ran back to the house and told Rod about it and he became enraged that anyone would do this. I said to him, please we must give this animal a decent burial and he agreed. I asked him to fetch the bag, I couldn't bear it, just didn't want to deal with it anymore. He carried the bag into the main part of the yard, and began to dig a nice hole. He then said "I just want to see him before we bury him," and I said, "well go ahead but I have to turn my back, I don't think I could stand to see this." I stood there weeping, my teeth clenched, my back to him as he opened the bag. "OH MY GOD," he shouted, "OH MY GOD." And I screamed - "WHAT???" (even though I did not want to know) And he replied, "Someone was positively SAVAGE to this CAN OF SPAGHETTI!" And I said - "What the ----- !"
It was someone's unfinished lunch!!! (The thought of canned spaghetti is, in itself, pretty gross, but at least it was not the horrific thing I had imagined and feared.)

Yes I think the process of our mutual senility has already begun....with me.

my backyard said...

Yes, it was a very touching essay. Thank you for pointing it out.

Does honking the horn work to scare them out of the way? I wasn't aware of that.

Your spaghetti story is priceless. You had me quite scared until you declared that it was pasta.

squirrelmama said...

Yes, and I must say, it was the scariest serving of pasta I had ever laid eyes on!