I’ve always liked Lewis Carroll’s idea of the world seen in a mirror being another world entirely, one with, shall we say, relaxed laws of physics and probability. The world turned upside down and inside-out!
I passed into a milder mirror-version of my world yesterday. I arrived at the loading dock to pick up my bundles of newspapers and my boss took me aside:
“Larry, that woman at 1049 has been complaining again. She said you were late with the Sunday paper, and once again she called my boss rather than me! I know that occasionally there are unavoidable delays, but we need to keep that woman happy somehow!”
I explained to him why I had been running late, a story involving a 30 MPH wind gust and a bundle of slippery and glossy advertising inserts.
My boss looked pensive. He said, “Why don’t you try running the route backwards? That way that woman would be near the beginning of the route rather than the end.”
I thought this over. It would make for a weird day, but what the heck, I said I’d give it a try.
It was so strange trying to mentally reverse a spatial pattern which was so well-entrenched in my mind. I learned that houses and landmarks can look very different when approached from another direction! I had to stop and explain to a few customers who were accustomed to getting the paper at a certain time.
“Larry, what are you doing here so early! It’s only 12:30!”
I wrote recently about encountering a raccoon which behaved oddly and nearly running the creature over with my truck. Yesterday I drove by the area where I had encountered that ‘coon and saw a furry lump by the side of the road. It wasn’t moving and I assumed the beast had died during the night. A few minutes later I returned after a delivery and saw that the ‘coon was writhing, looking as if it was in its death throes. I stopped the truck and regarded the suffering animal through the open window. I couldn’t see its head:
I got out of the truck and walked around to the other side of the writhing ‘coon. I squatted down and watched for a while. I felt so sorry for that ‘coon! It was trying to cover its eyes with its hands as if the sunlight was painful. The ‘coon’s mouth was twisted in that rictus common to all mammals when death and pain make an unwelcome visit:
Rarely have I witnessed a wild animal or bird in the process of dying. Normally they try to find a secluded spot out of sight. I considered killing the animal, following that time-honored custom: “putting it out of its misery”. With what, though? A tire iron as bludgeon? The heel of my boot? My pocket knife?
I decided against it, as there existed a possibility that the ‘coon was just having a really bad day and would recover. I really don’t enjoy killing animals.
I also didn’t want to be late with my deliveries. An imaginary scenario, my boss again confronting me:
“So what happened yesterday, Larry? We had three calls about you being late!”
“Well, there was this raccoon I had to kill, and it wasn’t easy!”