The City of Cincinnati issued new trash cans a few weeks ago, to be used instead of my can. It’s a large, rolling thing. If my property was flat, it would be tolerable, but, given that my front yard is a steep slope, it’s a bit of a pain to roll up and down the hill. The lid flips open, and doesn’t have any sort of latch–not even a friction-snap like my can. As you may guess, I’m not a fan, but it’s not something that’s worth getting too upset about.
The other evening, around 10:30 or 11 in the evening, we heard a rumble, like things were being knocked over. I tried to decide if it was worth investigating. It repeated, so I did a tail count: none of the cats were into any mischief. For the most part, they were trying to figure out what I was doing. I went and sat back down on the sofa. A third repeat had me really wondering. The sound had sounded like it was coming from outside. Looked out the front windows, but didn’t see anything. I flipped on the lights to the back porch, and looked out.
By the trash can was a couple of Chinese food containers. I stepped outside, and opened the lid to the trash can. A raccoon was looking up at me. I generally think raccoons are cute, but they are also animals I know can be somewhat unpredictable.
I wish I could say I calmly went inside. I’m a fan of wildlife. When I’m at my day job doing whatever it is I do that is dull, monotonous, and not making the world a better (or worse) place, one of my daydreams is join at research team to photograph wild snow leopards (or the clouded leopards, or another wild cat species). While I realize that there is a difference between seeing a wild animal in the wild where you semi-expect it and unexpectedly seeing a wild animal confined in your trash can, my reaction suggests that I’d be more likely to scare every snow leopard in the Himalayas.
I flipped the lid closed–the racoon sat confused. I like to imagine he shrugged and went back to picking through my garbage. I went inside and close the door, and my wife came to make sure I was OK. We did a tail count–everyone was accounted for, and being mellow. I looked at my cats. Though descended from fierce predators, I face the reality that only Eddy at his wildest might stand a chance with a racoon. They are as domesticated and removed from the wild as I am.
Overnight, I worried about the raccoon, and if he’d be able to get out of the deep can. The next morning, I made sure all the cats secured behind a door, and I grabbed our broom. First, I tapped on the side of the can: no reaction. Then, I used the end of the handle, to open the lid from as far as I could manage. I peeked in: just garbage, no raccoon. I picked up the mess, then went to work.