A calvacade of possums – I thought that would make a pretty good title except that there’s no such word. I was sorry to realize that the real word, cavalcade, doesn’t have the same sparkly, circusy ring to it. Sometimes I think they should check with us before they go assigning words to definitions.
My first possum experience was a huge old fat lumbering fellow that walked himself right up the stairs and past us standing around on a porch. Scared. The. Hell. Out of me. I thought it was a gargantuan rat out for a gargantuan rat stroll.
I’m not scared of possums any more. Good thing, because they show up pretty often, doing their possum thing. And I’ve learned a little bit about them.
A little bit is a good amount to pack for traveling.
So far, possums haven’t come up in conversation, but they’re there, just in case -just in case I’m lucky enough to have a conversation. If that happens, I don’t want to be talking about what to see and what to do. I don’t want to be waiting for someone to share some secret joint that ‘tourists don’t know about.’
I’ve been in those conversations, but I don’t remember them. I remember the stories and ideas. I remember the philosophy and struggling with history. For me, they create a way to see and experience a place unlike any other. It takes more work to get those, but those conversations will illuminate. And that’s why I travel in the first place. To get some illumination.
Not long ago, a woman asked, ‘Are you a local?’ We were in a public restroom down at the beach. ‘We’re here for a few days. What would you recommend?’ She told me where she and her husband were staying. I paused to think, to get my questions ready.
During that pause, a whole different woman – still in a stall – piped up enthusiastically. ‘I’m not a local, but I’ll tell you what you should do.’ And so she did and all I could think was: Eeeeeek. It was an incredibly bad suggestion, what they call shit.
We should’ve spent a few minutes talking about possums. Ha.