Friday, April 9, 2010

Road Kill (Who knew THAT was in THERE)

(Pre-Script: This post will reveal to you your inner depths when read as the song, "Everybody's Changing," #51 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Today while driving down the mean streets of San Jose, I saw at least 3 dead Opossums which had been smashed by cars. In each case there were visible entrails.
("Did she just say entrails?")
("Yes, yes she really just did.")

Did you ever notice that the insides of a thing, the part no one ever sees, is the most colorful? You would if you had witnessed the entrails on the road today. Under that indistinguishable-just blend in grayish brownish color of the the Opossum's outside fur, who knew there were shapes and shockingly bright colors? You don't think of that until the creature is splayed all over the road. And by then, the Opossum is dead. So it lived a life of hidden internal brightness. That inner brightness tucked neatly inside a thing is what kept Mr Opossum alive all of those days and weeks of foraging just on the side of the road, before he got so brave, used to the sound of traffic, that he dared venture out for the adventure of a lifetime. Possibly to get the delicious smelling such and such a thing that wafted across the street at him, teasingly. Maybe an older, wise Opossum told him to "walk toward the light," and he saw the light, and started walking towards it, only it was the wrong light, in a twist of cruel irony, that light, probably connected to a truck, was the dress rehearsal for the real light they were telling him to walk towards "when his time came." He forgot to remember that his time was not necessarily up yet. But now it necessarily was.
There was a brief interlude in my preteen life when I was fascinated by the idea of seeing the guts of small creatures. I thought about small creature guts a lot when I was 11 and 12. I knew that the skin covering the lizard or frog that scurried in front of my path was hiding something. I wanted to see what lies beneath. I wanted to know firsthand what color and shapes it took. I wanted to see the unseen inner workings of living things. It is possible, but unlikely, that a knowing grownup could have gotten a sense of this passion of mine and began the process of grooming me into a surgeon. You could be right now hearing from a certified Doogie Howser, MD, if that grown up had groomed me properly at that time in my life.
That narrow window of opportunity was shut when I became an actual 13 year old teenager. As such, I had more pressing 13 year old issues on my mind. Like how to become cool overnight.
How to properly layer two different colors of socks over my pegged pant legs. How to deal with the the fact that 7th and 8th grade boys are the meanest human beings on the planet. How to deal with the fact that 7th and 8th grade girls are the meanest human beings on the planet, too. I had to think about making sure my whitish legs were covered; my not tan legs in the 80's, when nothing less than tan was acceptable, were not above teasing. No one cared about the inside colors and shapes of what was going on inside of this 13 year old. If I had been emotionally splayed all over the road in front of them, my psychological entrails smashed and sticking out all wonky, they would have turned their heads in disgust, hoping the view did not reach past their periphery. They may have become sick to their stomachs. It takes a tough stomach to endure the inner brilliance of another being. It takes a strength of character seldom found in Jr High. I was no exception.
Now when I see a dead Opossum complete with entrails I try to let it only enter my peripheral vision. I have become too squeamish to look. It's okay, I am sure I would have been a horrible teenage surgeon. Although I do think the green Doctor scrubs would have complimented my eyes. Also I would love to be able to write or say "MD" after my name. Hey, if I had earned it, like Doogie, you had better believe I would not be above introducing myself to people in such a fashion: "Hello, my name is Michelle, MD." Beyond that, I get light headed about bleeding things, and no one wants to deal with a fainting Surgeon; it would be bad for the lawsuits.
The desire to dissect may have died at the age of 12, But I have never given up the desire to understand the deeper colors, shapes, and depths of the inner workings of a creature. I have never given up the desire to understand what it actually means to be seen.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I shall never look at possums again on the road without thinking of this analogy!