Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shoo, Little Creature, Shoo

"Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins."

Recently, during one dismal and colourless afternoon, I found a silverfish on our kitchen floor. This remarkable creature, whose species has, it seems, been slithering for 300 million years or more, was stranded in our home with no obvious means of escape.
I scooped the little fellow into a dustpan as delicately as I could and prepared to remove him from the apartment.
There exists a long hallway between our door and that of the main building. I had the option to shovel him into the piercing cold snowstorm or fling him into the embracing warmth of the hallway and bid him luck with the rest of his journey. I decided to put him him into the hall and pointed out, as I walked towards the door with the pan in my hand, that he might fare better upstairs with possibly more accommodating and benevolent neighbours; although in truth Spouse and I have had absolutely no luck despite being the same species. One never can tell how these things will turn out.
I threw open the door and tossed him into the air. Somebody else could worry about him, I thought decidedly. As long as he was not in my territory I could be at perfect ease.
He was in mid-flight when I last saw him, and when I saw the shoes. A wet and soggy pair were sitting in the hall, fresh from the thunderous snowstorm.
They were my shoes and I considered, far too late, that he might well land in one of them. As it happened I did not see where the silverfish finally fell but it did cross my mind that it could have been my shoe he dropped into. Or somebody else's. Or I could have been Somebody Else, unsuspecting and just as undeserving of a wriggling insect under my foot as the insect was to be there. He was just a tiny creature but he forced me in a curious way to think about consequences, selfishness and the urgent necessity of trying to visualise an action from another's point of view.

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