Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sometimes it's a hard world for small things.

Today has been a rough day and it started with an incident that probably wouldn't even have phased (fazed?) some people. Sure, maybe it's a testament to how sheltered I am, but fuck it. It sucked.

I was on my way to the gym, exiting the highway and in the middle of the exit ramp was the small flailing body of a recently run-over squirrel. Still alive, but probably (hopefully) not for long. I was stricken, but what the hell could I do? You can't stop on an exit and even if I could...then what? Some people would've tried to run over it for good, but I am not built that way.

I went to the gym and had a shitty workout. I felt sick and distraught and a little stupid for letting the suffering of that tiny critter affect me so strongly. But how could I not? How is a squirrel's suffering any more or less important? How do you quantify suffering?

I made it back out to my car an hour later and started crying. And crying. And crying. Crying for the tiny, flailing suffering thing. Crying for my uselessness. Crying for the unfairness and cruelty of it all. Crying because I'm sure other people drove right past and didn't give it a though. Crying because there was nothing I could do.

I'm lucky in that I have a lovely husband who understood my distress and took it seriously. But yeah, not the best day I've ever had.


  1. Oh man, I am so sorry. If it makes you feel any better, I probably would have reacted the exact same way. That is a terrible thing to see. I have been having a bit of an existential crisis about all the suffering in the world lately (mostly involving animals, but there are some homeless people thrown in there, too). Tenderhearts of the world, UNITE!!

  2. I had a squirrel double back on me and I ran over it. I was almost to work and by the time I entered the building I was bawling! I went to my office followed by 6 or 7 of my co-workers all asking what was wrong. I told them I hit a squirrel and someone said, "Oh!, I thought you'd hit an old lady." I said I wished that I had because then I would have known what to do. I feel your pain. To this day I'm totally sure it was a mama squirrel bringing food to her babies!

  3. I know exactly how you feel.

    I had the flu a few weeks back and thought I was dyin', but still had to take the kids to school in the morning. On the way there, the car in front of me hit a squirrel or should I say, the squirrel hit the hit the back tire and kinda catapulted into the air....I felt like I was gonna puke and cry all at the same time. I dropped the boy of at school and headed back the way I had came only to see the little squirrel sittin' directly in the middle of the lane it had gotten hit in and cars were flyin' over it.

    I pulled over, got outta my car (wearing a night shirt, pajama pants and slippers) in a high fever haze and scurried across the street to the what I thought for sure would be an almost dead squirrel....I didn't want him to keep gettin' driven over bein' all scared shitless in his last moments.

    I just kinda stood there lookin' for some sign of injury, but saw none....maybe he was just stunned. Havin' nothin' but my own fingers to poke him with, I poked at him and he scurried just a little bit to get away from me. I went and poked him again hopin' he would scurry outta the road, but he didn't move. I was frozen to the spot in the middle of the road starin' not wantin' to pick up the little guy outta fear of rabies. Before I knew what the hell I was doin' I had picked up the squirrel and was runnin' across the street with him and dumped in the grass on the side of the road.

    I went home and scrubbed my hands with bleach.

  4. Oh thank you. Thank you for doing that.

  5. Over the summer friends and I were walking down the street and we saw a cat get hit by a car. We ran up to it but it was really too late. We picked it up and put it in the grass on the side of the road because we couldn't bare the thought of just leaving it in the middle of the street. I cried all day just thinking about that poor cat and then the rest of my weekend was pretty much ruined, too. I am a cat lover with 6 cats so you can imagine how that effected me. The title of your post pretty much sums it up. It's a hard world for small things. And it's a hard thing for us tenderhearts!

  6. Back when I was a senior in high school, I was driving back to my boarding school after a college visit at like four in the morning. I was just minding my own business when a squirrel ran out in front of my car. I swear to this day that he flung his tiny arm up in front of his face to defend himself. I cried. A lot. And then I called my them boyfriend and woke him up and cried some more.

    I think I worry a lot more about the people who don't care at all.