I never had a plan to write anything personal to me here, but this is an exception, as I’m sure there will turn out to be an increasing amount of due to the habitual self-centred nature of humans, but whatever.
Today I did something I can probably never forgive myself about, and something that will flash in my eyes from time to time for the rest of my life.
I’m an animal lover, a nature lover. Not the kind of ‘aww look at that cute puppy!’ kind of animal lover who then goes on to say ‘eww get rid of that horrible spider’ and ‘kill those annoying ants’ and then ‘what a sweet funny kitten!’. I’m the kind of animal love that actually likes animals and nature, not things that are generally fluffy and cute, which, in the majority of cases, have been genetically modified to be that way so they get sold for money to those who have it and don’t need it.
I am fascinated by all nature and life, all the horrible viruses and bugs, all the majestic tigers and, well I’m also not a hippy about it. I eat meat, because it doesn’t look like animals and it tastes good. I don’t eat seafood because it looks like animals and tastes bad. Except tuna for some reason. It doesn’t have that piss-in-the-ocean smell, which i find pleasantly mysterious.
If I see an ant, I watch it and I am interested by it. Just today one of my desk ants was carrying a crumb I left behind earlier in the day down my headphone cable, on its way to the underside of the desk. Fine.
If an ant is under my foot when I happen to be lowering my foot in order to walk or not float away, I will react quickly and shift my whole weight to the side to avoid the chance that a non-indented part of my shoe might crush it.
The same goes for any animal and – aside from inadvertently inhaling animals to death like mites, and just generally unavoidable consequences of insects, and a very few mosquitoes followed by some guilt – I can safely say I haven’t killed anything, ever. Certainly no birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians.
Today that changed.
I was back at tennis after a month or so hiatus due to my heavy double-job schedule with this movie soundtrack taking up my spare time, and I was about to dive into a big fat serve, threw the ball up in the air, prepared to strike.
Suddenly, as my full swing was already in motion, like a bat out of hell, a bat swooped in and latched onto the ball.
It was far too late, I had already hit it before I even knew what I hit.
The bat landed, stunned. possibly organs destroyed but, from the outside nothing immediate seemed broken. It looked more stunned than anything else. It reacted with a squeal when my Korean partner – my current opponent – touched it, and so he carefully lifted it and took it to a Vietnamese guy working at the courts, asking what to do with it. I watched in the distance as he handed it over to the Vietnamese man.
Now, there were many Nails in the coffin of my opinion towards Vietnam, mainly the crocodile spit roasts, colourfully dyed crocodile leather, useless bureaucracy, ridiculous and unreliable opening and closing times, traffic, and, well, I won’t describe every nail but it’s more like a graveyard at this point.
But the final nail in the coffin going into the last space in the ground was when that Vietnamese man nonchalantly dropped the bat, stomped on it to get out a little squeak of defeat, and swept it off into the grass. That was because of me. I was not directly responsible for its death, but i was directly responsible for it being dead.
Hell, maybe I killed an animal as a kid due to not feeding it or dropping it or something – I have no memories of it, except a spider which I won’t go into the details of but it literally haunts my dreams to this day, a decade or so later – and so this is…