The Secret Door
One day, someone will offer to show me a pastel blue whitewash door in a frame. Not in a doorway … or even attached to anything — just a free-standing, powder-blue whitewashed door in its frame.
And that’s the day I’ll know I’m not coming back.
But … be that as it may …
Them: “Easy for you to say. Y’ain’t got no bears over there, now do ya?”
Me: “I lived in Berlin. At any given time, there are bears no more than 80km from Berlin. And Berlin is not a walled city. So, as it happens, I know all about living in terror of bear attacks.”
Them: “I don’t super believe there’s a bear problem in Berlin.”
Me: “Oh, no? Then why is Berlin’s mascot a bear, eh? Answer me that!
Besides which, how long does it take a bear to cover 80km? Two hours. Two hours, that’s what it takes. Two hours and you’re under attack by bears! And 75% of them will be offensive and say hurtful things … or make lewd remarks … as well as disembowelling you before stealing your Filet-O-Fish. And what if you’re vegetarian, like me, and don’t have a filet to give them? Not any kind of filet, let alone fish … what then? They’ll probably get angry!”
Them: “I dunno. Bears are bears, I guess. Generally, you just kinda leave them alone — they don’t get dangerous until they’re used to garbage.”
Me: “And I haven’t even started on the wolves yet!”
Them: “You don’t have to be anxious about wolves or bears or nothin’ bigger than a racoon, if those exist in England.”
Me: “No … no washbears in the UK — nor anywhere else outside North America.”
Them: “Then you’re home free.”
Me: “But our foxes are dangerous. They know no fear and will enter your home and face you down, if you get aggy about it. Even our squirrels are dangerous!
“I saw this young one, no bigger than my hand, face down an oncoming car in my road — on the white line, back arched, tail bristling, the works ... daring the car to move another inch.
“So, the wolves they’re talking about reintroducing (or already have) …
“And boars … they’re seriously fucking dangerous — you listen/look for boar warnings on/in the local radio/press in Germany, before you head into the forest.”
Them: “That’s why you don’t go in the forest, dummy. Nature is a trap.”
Me: “We don’t have any in the UK. Which is why the foxes (and squirrels) run riot in our cities … and why the wolves will too, when they’re reintroduced (if they haven’t already been). You wait … they’ll reintroduce bears next — before you know it, they’ll be mugging people in London.
They’ve already put lynx in Scotland. And wolves, iirc. I think we have boar now too and I seem to recall something about eagles.”
Them: “Isn’t Scotland like super weirdo land though?”
Me: “No … it’s 400 miles away. That’s only thirteen hours by bear, as the crow (or, now, the eagle?) flies. London isn’t a walled city … we can’t even keep foxes out, let alone bears or wolves! And what about slithering things, eh? What about a slithering thing … … … with an owl!?”
Lynxes, eagles, boars, bears, wolves …. beavers in the River Otter … where will it all end?
Next thing you know, there’ll be otters in the River Beaver, cats and dogs living together, women wearing trousers …
It’s madness, I tell you … madness!