I Hate This Sort of Thing

Today’s editing/writing session did not go as well as I’d hoped. The problem was not with my manuscript, my ideas or any of the changes I am making to the document. I did not have computer failure nor did I have meetings, appointments, etc. to take me away from the task I really wanted needed to be working on. What I had was a major case of sleep deprivation, and I felt like I was in a fog all day.

I have my neighbour to thank for this. It seems he has decided to set a trap for the raccoons who come sniffing around his garbage can, and last night he caught one. Oh yay. So from about 2am on I could hear this poor little raccoon trying to escape from the cage. Around 4am it seems that s/he gave up on the whole prospect of getting out and instead started to make whimpering noises. It was awful. I had no idea what to do. The thought of skulking about over the fence in the dead of night to free a very angry and upset wild animal didn’t seem like the best of plans. I contemplated ringing my neighbour’s doorbell and getting him to deal with the situation he created, but chickened out. I looked up the local humane society’s phone number, but wasn’t sure if this constituted one of the “emergencies” that they are on call for 24 hours a day. I’m ashamed to admit that I did nothing to help this poor animal in distress and it has bothered me all day. Today I left a message with the humane society to see what they suggest should this happen again.

Is my neighbour even allowed to do this? Seems pretty sketchy to me!

This incident has reminded me of how difficult cross-fence politics can be. On the one hand, I am appalled by the thought of an animal in distress. It makes me furious and upset. On the other hand, I cherish the sanctity and peacefulness of my home, yard and garden. I work from home and I need it to be a non-stressful place. The thought of waging war with my neighbour (and, yes, this incident would up the ante, I’m afraid) makes me a little sick to my stomach.

I’m also reminded of another set of incidents, incidents that took place in another city many years ago. In that instance, my neighbour was a hunting fanatic and occasionally had the bodies/partial bodies of the animals he killed on the lawn. It was revolting. It made me weep. Yet, what could I do? He was in his yard, doing his thing. I remember staying inside a lot during hunting season that year.

My research and writing has me thinking a lot about relationships between human and nonhuman animals these days, but I’m at a loss when it comes to negotiating some of the scenarios that play out (quite literally) in my own backyard.

One thought on “I Hate This Sort of Thing

  1. I agree, those are not the idea conditions for writing, particularly academic writing. And this seems like it was very upsetting for you. I hope you find a way to deal with future incidents without causing a difficult neighbour relationship.

    I wonder if you might want to investigate raccoon proof garbage cans. You could then do a helpful neighbour thing. Something like “I know you have been having problems with racoons getting in your garbage and I came across this. I thought you might be interested.” then give him details. In the long run, that is probably more effective anyway. Raccoons live in the city for a reason and there are lots of them. (And they are smart so it won’t take long for them to figure out the trap. A friend of mine set one for a groundhog that was eating his vegetables and the groundhog just sat on top of the thing eating the vegetables.)

    But the other thing I would suggest is to write anyway, just not the academic thing you were planning. Since relationships between human and non-human animals are on your mind (and might become academic writing someday), why not keep a journal and when you have days like this, you can use your writing time to write in your journal. That we you keep the writing habit and you deal with the strong emotions.

    Hope things go better tomorrow.

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