Monday, April 30, 2007

The Wilds of Suburbia

We live in the wilds of suburbia. We've got your standard Northern California suburban beasts – deer, skunks, opossums, squirrels, turkeys, and raccoons. We happen to live on a decent-sized lot. That would be "decent-sized" by inflated California prices standards. We've got lots of trees, providing shelter for such woodland creatures. We've also got your average household pets: an indoor mutt and an outdoor cat.

This is a story of a raccoon. For the sake of story writing, let's call the raccoon a female. Evidence of her presence in and around our yard abounds, and it includes infrequent sightings, frequent trash can openings and wrappers from the trash strewn about here and there. [No, not the type of opening where folks walk down the red carpet. Although, as I've not seen them, I suppose that's possible. But this is a true story. It is not a fable.]

Saturday night, the kids and I are sleeping out in the trailer. It's one of those things we do. And by "we," I certainly don't mean the father of said children. He remains cozy in the large, very expensive bed we have in the house. No, the "we" is the gaggle of demanding children and their weak mother.

Let's peg the time at about midnight. There's still a bit of noise in and around the 'hood, but it's mostly quieting down. It is, after all, the wilds of suburbia and everyone has church or yard work or both on Sunday. The cat is noisily eating the food Pete gave her earlier in the evening. She's actually eating it damn loudly. It is that loud munching that has awakened me.

I wander over to the door. It is, of course, the raccoon. And she sees me. And she barely gives me a glance. When I rattle the door? Whatever. How about when I shine a light in her eyes? Still eating. And when I open the door and stand just a foot or two away from her? Zero effect. If you count her standing on her haunches and growling at me "zero effect." As I hurriedly go back into my trailer haven, she goes right back to eating.

And why is that? Because she's eating, thank you very much. And, frankly, it's a lot better than the food that's been in the trash can the past two nights. Why is that? Because we've not generated much trash since trash day on Friday, so the only contents of her typical buffet table is an empty container of grapes from Costco and three bags of dog poop.

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