Out for my late evening stroll (two and a half miles) I was about two blocks from home tonight when I spotted one of my old nemeses. It was digging for grubs in a yard two houses down from me, a good sized critter, black, bushy tail held high, with that bright white stripe prominently displayed.
I was going to simply cross the street to give it a wide berth, but the skunk started toward the street instead and I froze. I’ve read that they have lousy vision, which was fine by me. It waddled across the street and started digging for grubs in that yard.
Down the street was walking a man with two dogs on leashes. He had moved out into the street and over to my side. I was watching the skunk to make sure it didn’t do anything rash, as well as to see if there might be a mate or baby skunks wandering about. As my neighbor got next to me he asked, “Was that what I think it was?”
“If you think it was a skunk, then, yes, it was,” I said.
He reined in the leashes on his dogs, which were now picking up the scent (the skunk had not sprayed, but still…) and getting excited. He moved on past me and I started toward home again.
As I got to the corner to turn for home, another man rounded the corner with two large dogs. I stopped him and gave him the heads up that a potential major problem lie just down at the next corner.
He was incredulous. “A skunk? Here? In the city?”
He must be new to the area, because we can smell them once or twice a month, even though seeing them is more rare. I assured him that I was dead serious, noting that running into a skunk while walking the dogs would most certainly ruin his day.
“Yeah, right,” was all I got for my efforts. He moved off down the sidewalk.
I crossed the street and headed for home. As I got halfway down the block I heard dogs start to bark and could clearly hear a man’s voice yelling, “OH, SHIT!”By the time I got home the first whiffs of Eau d’Skunk were wafting across the neighborhood.
In the stereotypical big city suburban neighborhood where the assumption is that no one knows their neighbors’ names even after living next to them for twenty years, I tried to be friendly and outgoing. You know – “neighborly.” Our now-stinky friend should have had a bit more trust.
Karma, man! It’s a real bitch.
(P.S. – For the record, we do know most of our neighbors’ names for at least the first two or three houses, with one notable exception. Further down the block, if we don’t know the name of the neighbor, we at least know the name of their dog.)