Friday, June 10, 2016

Sympathy for a Devil

A few minutes after four o'clock this morning I was awakened from a really pleasant dream by a skunk. No, the skunk did not tap me on the shoulder or whisper in my ear--nothing like that. Fortunately he remained outside, one floor below my open bedroom window, and made his presence known odorifically, if that is a word. If not, it should be, because that's what happened.

At first I thought the smell was gas escaping and that I had mere moments to get out before my house exploded. Lest you think I am overly worrisome, that exact same thing did happen to a house nearby just two years ago, killing its only occupant. (It was a big story, even making the national news.) And just yesterday a repairman came to fix a broken burner on our stove. After messing with it for some time he concluded it needed a new part, which was ordered. I asked him about exploding houses and he assured me that if my house were about to explode, the whole place would smell strongly of gas as a warning. So naturally when I woke up to the skunk gas I was momentarily alarmed; surely you can see how that would happen.

But soon enough I figured it out. By then it was too late to get back to sleep, so the new day was begrudgingly begun and coffee was made. I was annoyed, not only because of the interrupted dream but also because I will be out very late tonight and so likely will be dragging at some point. But then I remembered when I lived in a second-floor New York City apartment and was awakened by noisy garbage trucks and police sirens and street traffic early every morning, so I sent the skunk some positive vibes. In fact, I wondered what had scared him so much that he had released his only weapon. It must have been something fierce, since skunks carry just enough of the chemical for five or six uses – about one tablespoon – and require some ten days to produce another supply.

I hope he's okay.

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