Ahhh. I feel myself relaxing. I hear the waves. I smell the salt water.
The reason he comes to mind is because I awoke on my beach chair to find one of his family members sniffing around in my beach bag (!) The top of his furry back was inches away from my hand. (cue scary music)
After a quick glance down to see what I was dealing with, there I sat, frozen, eyes wide, staring ahead, while nearby European tourists looked on and giggled. The giant, man-eating creature then proceeded on his way, but not before walking directly under my beach chair. (I felt the hump of his back going under my chair – ewwwww!!!!)
When he was gone, I turned to those European tourists who were snickering good-humoredly and asked with concerned eyes, “WHAT WAS THAT?” They explained in thick accents that it was a capybara, quite harmless, and that he and a few of his friends often roamed the garden of the resort from time to time. I asked if it bites. They assured me that it is actually gentle and friendly.
I don’t care if it’s philanthropic and discovers a cure for cancer, I don’t want to see one at the beach when I’m on vacation.
I think that my intense disdain for rodents developed from a childhood trauma that involved me finding a dead possum (or is it opossum?) (and now, come to think of it, was it really dead? ah!).
Is there anything more vile than a possum?
The story goes like this: I was 8 years old and dutifully doing my chore of sweeping the garage. I had strapped on my roller skates to make the chore seem more fun (reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking) even though I’m pretty sure it took me 5 times longer to finish the chore. It turned out to be really difficult to balance on wheels and sweep effectively. But I told myself I was beating the system and having fun, so the skates stayed on.
My childhood chore inspiration:
Aaanyway, with b room in hand, I skated my way over to one corner of the garage and saw a hideous possum (which I mistook as a rat), threw down my broom, and ran/rolled/tripped inside screaming bloody murder.
I adore my dad. He’s one of my all-time favorite people. But he made a parenting error here and sent me back down to the garage where he told me to “Sweep around it.” So I did. But make no mistake, a dark cloud veiled my heart that day.
And thus, my scarring fear of rodents.
I later learned that some people (who clearly did not have a childhood rodent trauma) keep capybaras for pets.