April 26, 2016
I live in the city. That’s all you need to know: the city. Not the country. Not trees and streams but buildings and pavement. This isn’t Wild Kingdom.
Specifically, I live in a thankfully non-hipster part of Brooklyn South. This means it’s:
A- still pretty nice
B- impossible to find mustache wax
C- becoming very Chinese. But that’s a different story.
So I was driving home last night and the last thing I expected to see in my car’s headlights was a giant possum.
It’s a residential area, albeit a busy one. Someday it will be nothing but big condos and no parking, but for now it is still mostly medium-sized houses and homes, albeit with no parking. And I wasn’t kidding about condos. They are knocking down the houses left and right and replacing them with condominiums, giving no thought to where all the new residents will park. Some nights I drive around for three hours (or more!) until I find a parking spot. No joke.
But on this night I had only been looking for a spot for a few minutes when, as I drove down a one-way street, an animal sauntered in front of the car. It didn’t run, it didn’t trot, it didn’t even walk fast. It just moseyed out from between two parked cars like it didn’t give a damn who or what was coming down the street. It swaggered!
At first I thought it was a cat. There are lots of them in this area. But then I saw the long, rat-like tail and at this point the creature stopped as my headlights hit it, and I stopped so I actually wouldn’t hit it. It looked at me- not at the car, I am sure it looked right at me, in the driver’s seat, right into my very soul- and I saw that it was no cat and certainly not a rat. It was as long as a large cat (not counting the tail) but much heavier and more thickly furred. It was a big, really big, possum. After only about two seconds the possum decided that it didn’t care at all about me or my car, and with what I am sure was a possum version of giving me the middle finger, continued across the street, still swaggering with confidence. I drove on.
And found a parking spot just a few houses up the block. Yes!
But almost no. I parked but I had to walk back down the block to get home.
Past the possum.
Sure, I could have gone a different way, but let’s face it, I’m rather lazy, and if it came down to walking a half a block out of my way or taking my chances with a possum from Hell, I’d take my chances. As big as that animal was, I was bigger. Not as rabid, I hope, but definitely bigger.
As I walked back, my thoughts were “where does something that big live around here?” and “is it under that car? I swear I just saw something move under that car, oh shit, is it the possum? Oh my god what if it comes after me?”
Dear Reader, I made it home alive. But I still have no idea where a possum that size could call home around here. I also worry about what it’s eating to get so big.