Yesterday, I noticed a smell in my room.
It wasn't horrible yet, just unpleasant. I searched briefly for the source; it was a nice, warm day. I couldn't find it, so I opened the windows.
The smell, however, was stronger than my windows. It grew. It grew both more prevalent and more sickening. I searched at length, coming up with nothing - it seemed to come and go.
Today ... I go to school. Flash forward to 8:45 or thereabouts:
I come home. My father asks me about the smell in my room, and through some brainstorming we determine that it's probably something dead (Probably a dead bird - it's happened before) in the crawlspace above my room.
Now, for a variety of reasons I can't realistically ask my father to go into enclosed spaces, or do anything physically strenuous. So! It's up to me.
I approach the crawlspace door. The smell is indeed stronger here. I open the door with a flashlight, not going in yet. I see a dark shape. I identify the dark shape as that of a misshapen bird. I see large insect crawling on shape. I retreat to somewhere where I can clear my mind.
I get rubber gloves. I get no less than four plastic bags. I get a flashlight. I do not get peace of mind.
I continue trying to approach it. Eventually, I get close enough with the flashlight to see it well for the first time.
Yes, it is a dead bird. No, it's not exactly whole anymore. All of the down feathers along the front have been removed somehow and the Something-Not-Meant-To-Be-Visible is visible. It is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.
I think momentarily about picking it up. I think even more momentarily about going back into the room outside the crawlspace and opening a window. Opening both windows. I breathe fresh air for a while. I still have the rubber gloves and four plastic bags on my arm - they're getting uncomfortable. My legs hurt from standing in the same spot for a while.
And it's only been 20 minutes since I got home ...
I slowly realize there are two things keeping me from picking up that bird:
- The smell
- Fear of what it will feel like to pick up a decaying, organic object, the likes of which I have never picked up before
And I also realize that there is only something I can do about one of those. My father mentions something about building character, that the hero dies only once but the coward dies a thousand times. I figure I'm up to 1500 or so now.
I have nothing with which to mask the smell ... except the new rubber gloves! They smell strongly of rubber and kitchen-glove. Holding the massive bag assembly in my right hand, I hold the left (with a flashlight) directly under my nose, to mask as much of the smell as possible. I can only catch a hint of it after the strong scent of rubber, and now I am able to reach for the bird.
I don't pick it up on the first try, but I do manage to close it up more, bringing the wings in front of the ghastly open chest. On the second try I get it in the four bags, which I close, tie off, and get outside.
I acquire peace of mind somewhere around here.
I take it out to the trash, feeling horrible that birds could find a way into the crawlspace, but not a way out.
Wait, no, scratch that, I feel relieved because I don't have to pick it up again. I can go back to more normal living now.
All in all, this cost me about an hour: 10 minutes of preperation and execution, and 50 minutes of hemming and hawing, dying coward's deaths.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY (and it is a long story):Just do it already.