A couple of weeks ago, one day, I decided to walk to the library instead of going to the gym. It’s about four miles each day. I figured a nice nature walk would do me good. I almost always leave in and out of the garage door, except on rare occasions when I go for walks.
On the way back I walked to my front door to find something under the porch. It had removed the lattice wood part to get there. On close inspection I realized whatever it was, it was not alive. I leaped over all three steps onto my now half-stained porch, opened the door and jumped in feeling creepy crawlers on my skin. “Ew…Oh my God. I’ve become that person. Locked in the house and surrounded by dead animals.” Is there even such a that person? I started hopping from one leg to another, shrieking out loud. You understand this wasn’t just a matter of being grossed out. There was an element of how could this happen to me involved. I briefly toyed with the idea of gloving up and retrieving the creature, but that meant feeling a corpse. I’m not that brave. Besides it could have rabies.
I called our town hall. They referred me to animal control. If there’s a stereotypical terrified Middle Eastern woman image, it was here, full blast. My conversation with the woman went like this: “Hi. Um…” And then a high-pitched blabber. The woman tried to get more information.
“What kind of animal is it?”
“I don’t know. It’s long. It’s dead. I don’ know what to do. What am I supposed to do? Can you come get it?”
Before long she sent a boy in his twenties. He quickly looked at the creature and diagnosed it to be a fox. Probably the same fox that had represented nature to my urban mind before, and sent me running for my camera to capture its beauty. Now beauty my arse. Get this nature representative away from me.
To be polite, I decided to go step outside (I couldn’t carry all the conversation from behind the glass door). Out I went, jumping the three steps and kept walking until I reached a safe distance, about fifteen feet away from him.
The man pulled the fox out, placed it on the grass, examined it, then put it in a bag.
I stood there internally Oh Godding.
What was with all the sensitivity act? Hadn’t I seen death during residency?
He finished up, put back my broken fence with the same damn gloves.
“Thank you sir. What else do I have to do as it related to this thing?“ Fumigation? Vaccination? Ew.
He looked at me with amazement.
“Nothing ma’am.” Chill.
I thanked him and walked inside all nauseous. Ok maybe even hyperventilating a little.
By that evening, in the way little kids run to their parents for sympathy, I emailed mom for a compassionate word hug. I told her all about the the dead fox under my house and waited for a supportive email back. You know what she said?
“Well darling, you could have used its fur for a shawl.”
See that’s my mother. Where others see negative, she artfully finds a positive angle. Here’s a new version of, “when life gives you lemon make lemonade.” When life gives you a dead fox make a fur shawl.