Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Raccoons & Brooms

Many thanks to all my FB coupins who answered the call for a question as a blog prompt. I now have fodder for at least the next week!

But this one jumped out at me for today, from Leticia Arvizu:
"Have you ever met a two and a half legged raccoon that could stare even YOU down?"

And the answer is 'no.' The one that stared me down had all four legs.

We'd been on the road a lot. It was summer, when traveling gigs come easier. After a few trips out of town with only brief stops at home in between, the coons discovered the cat door, the cat food, and the cat's water (as well as the toilet, the sink and anything else they could reach. We'd come home to a paw print encrusted kitchen and bathroom. There's something to be said for the survival aptitude of determined, hungry creatures with opposable thumbs.

We were gone so much of the time, even with the neighbors keeping an eye on things, that the little bandits got brave. Or stupid. Or addicted to whatever crack they put in organic hippy cat food. The cat door was across the room from the bed, in plain sight. We could see them poke their adorable little noses through the catflap, whiskers aquiver. If we made a noise, the coon would retreat. If it was just my nancy cat, Tux, standing watch, they'd waltz right on in, flicking their tails in an apparent gesture of "Yeah, bitchcat, that's right. We're the coons, and we've come for your food, so backoff!" And Tux would let them. He seems to have a very clear understanding that the obligation for providing food is not his. He only has to eat it. Supply is obviousy a human problem, as is dealing with raccoons.

One night, assuming we were alseep, one of the buggers ambled right on in and headed straight for the kitchen. Fed up with the mess, noise, and extra cat food expense and charged with the adrenaline surge of an urban dweller conquering some part of the mighty wilderness, I flung off the covers, sprang to my feet with a warrior's "ah HA!" grabbed a broom, and cornered the fat bastard in the kitchen, where I held it at broom point while it tried to evade my menacing sweeps. It sat down, looked at me, and did that funny little raccoon noise that's cute unless they're looking right at you with coonly menace deep in their beady eyes.

I hear graciously suppressed laughter inflecting the syllables of, "Hey Babe? Whatcha doin?"

"I got me a coon! I got it trapped in the kitchen with this mighty broom!"

"Oh, really? Now whatcha gonna do with it?"

Between the flush of successfully cornering the coon and irritation at its devouring my cat's food, I had indeed neglected to formulate a post-capture plan of action.

Made me wonder what other areas of my life I run on surges of adrenaline, frustration and a mighty warrior vibe without any solid, considered, intelligent after-the-sacking plans. Where else in my life do I pursue a perceived adversary without any idea of what I'm gonna do if my pursuit results in capture? Where in my life do I target what appears to be the cause of my emotional surges (eg., raccoons) instead of dealing with a broader, more encompassing issues (eg., the cause of raccoons being in my house)?
The raccoon just stared at me. It knew. It knew that, despite my enthusiasm, larger brain and supposed intellectual advantages, it had bested me--and without a gol-durned broom. I lowered my eyes in defeat, having been thoroughly stared down by a four-legged raccoon. Having vanquished its foe, the raccoon dropped down on all fours, speedily waddled to the cat flap and was gone.

Maybe, if I ever rewrite this bit, it'll be a two and a half legged raccoon--you know, for dramatic effect. I dunno--I'm not sure that the ratio of my silliness to the number of raccoon legs involved shouldn't be kept a little higher; is it more pathetic or less so to corner a coon with fewer legs?


  1. Holy crap this is such an awesome story! I don't think you should take any legs away from this coon but maybe he was merely the mentee of a wiser, more smart assy racoon who only has two and a half legs... OOOO and maybe he's blind too! MAYBE the worst coon is yet to come... get a bigger broom!

  2. I love a owmn who knows her coons!

  3. Coons and possums... So much bigger and feistier in real life. Was housesitting once and went to collect the cat food dishes from the back porch when I found a coon and a possum, one per bowl. In picture-perfect synchronicity they looked up, hissed at me with tangible menace, and resumed eating. I closed the door and let them have it. No cat food is worth the threat I saw in their eyes :)


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