Monday, 2 April 2012

The other one about the inappropriately large truck

Following on from yesterday's post about trucks being inappropriately large for what they are carrying, I was thinking about a cat I had.

The cat was a beautiful dark grey and I rescued it from the RSPCA.  It was a cat, not a kitten, and I took it home and called it Reuben.  That was the end of our relationship.  The cat was nuts.  It would literally climb the curtains and claw its way up the wallpaper.  There was no way to calm it down and it was very stressful to live with.

As a responsible cat owner, Reuben had a collar with a bell and phone number.  It was in the days before registration and micro-chipping, but I kept him inside at night and let him out during the day.

One day, he was cleaned up by a car in front of my house.  He was lying on the nature strip and was irreparable.  I will confess to feeling relief, rather than sadness.  Our time together had been as fraught as it was brief.  I probably would have had to give him back if he hadn't been taken out by a car.  (It's always possible that he felt the same way and actually flung himself in front of the car in an effort to end the suffering inflicted by his luxurious new life.)  We shall never know.

Anyway, the broken body of the cat needed to be dealt with and I just wasn't up for it.  I reached for the phone book.  The city council had a small animal collection service.  We called.  The woman who answered the phone was so sensitive to the loss of Reuben that she was almost drowned out by the organ music I imagined to be playing in the background.  Arrangements were negotiated.  A collection time negotiated, a fee agreed.  We opted for the basic service, not feeling the need for formal burial or delivery of ashes after cremation. We waited.

An enormous truck thundered over the hill and stopped in front of the house.  A man got out - one of those skinny, wiry, chain-smoking men who drive trucks or move pianos for a living.  There was no nonsense about him.  He spotted the body, strode over and picked Reuben up, launching him into the cavernous back of the truck.  He was so efficient that he left the collar and name tag on the cat.

My house mate ran out to meet him and ask him to remove the collar, but he was so swift that by the time she was out there, he was back behind the wheel and Reuben was just a ticked off job code on a clipboard.

He took a long draw on his cigarette when he heard the request and instead of refusing, as any reasonable person might do, climbed into the back of the truck.  There was the sound of animal corpses being sorted through (can you imagine that?) and then an arm holding a collar became visible.

"Is this it?"

Everyone was happy when the answer was yes.

The skinny, wiry chain-smoking man climbed behind the wheel, put the truck in gear and thundered away to his next collection.

Was such a large truck really necessary?  I was feeling relieved that I hadn't paid for extra services.  I could have ended up with the ashes of anyone's suburban road kill.  I wondered if the woman who took the details so gently and sensitively knew the reality of the service.  At least I didn't have to scrape him off the road.

No comments:

Post a Comment