Conversations with Raccoons

I thought that being sober would have meant that I would be participating in and instigating less stupid tomfoolery, but it turns out that I just remember my idiocy more clearly now. One such idiotic habit is that I talk to everything. Myself, the shower head, the shower water, my car, dinner that I’m making, drawer handles, everything…well, except coworkers, I don’t talk to them.

I would argue this is not a symptom of my sobriety or brain synapses healing from the brutal ravaging of my relentless purging of consciousness, but rather, a result of narrating the world for my child, as suggested in a myriad of child development books. For more than a year I’ve been narrating the world like the most low-stakes David Attenborough.

This has mutated–or, if you’re an optimist, evolved–into talking directly to the objects. “Well look at you, bookshelf, someone needs to give you a good dusting. Dustings are like the showers of the shelved object kingdom, aren’t they? Let’s strip you of your books and baubles, the clothes of shelves, and get those feathers right up into your corners and crevices.”

The over-talking to inanimate objects also grew from the need to curb my insatiable propensity for cursing. “Oh, now counter, you caught me right on the solar plexus with your pointy cornerness. Are you angry because I didn’t use a hot-pad when I took the pan off the burner? Is this revenge? Are you a vengeful counter? You know lashing out in anger only results in creating more anger. I’m going to shuffle off now and hope I’m not bleeding internally. Be good.”

During the night in question, I walked to the kitchen for a glass of water (re: a giant scoop of ice cream. What? It’s the only vice I have left, let me have it!) I am very skittish, a kindred trait with the raccoon, nature’s bumbling refuse raiders. When the motion light clicked on, I poked my head out the window to see what it was, assuming it was band of highly trained marauders who were not counting on my coincidental vigilance and…a…light…a motion sensor light.

Normally the light is triggered by a leaf, the wind, a cicada’s gaseous emission, strongly worded thoughts from the couple a block away. But this time it was actually something–I don’t know why I’m being coy about it, it was obviously the raccoon. I opened the back door hoping the sound would scare it away, but it just looked at me.

It doesn’t really matter what words were exchanged. It was mostly one sided. I think at one point I tried to relate to it, “Y’know, I kind of identify with a thing that sneaks around in the night hoping nobody sees it indulging its secret shame. Hey, how do you cope with…Are you just staring at me because you think I’m going to give you food? What happened to us, raccoon?” Eventually the raccoon sauntered off, probably out of embarrassment for me.

The weird part is, I hate having conversations in general, yet, I pay to converse with a therapist, and I voluntarily chatted with this tanooki-suited (you have to be a real specific demographic to get that reference), ill-tempered cat-with-thumbs. Maybe I don’t like talking but instead prefer monologuing at barely-willing participants?


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  1. So it’s just like blogging, then.

    I find myself conversing with my cat a lot. So far, he doesn’t talk back.

    But I’ve never conversed with a shelf. Might be worth a shot. Couldn’t be any worse than a cat.


  2. “Tanooki-suited”, I haven’t heard that phrase since Mario Bros 2. You are losing it. I only say excuse me when I walk into counters or walls, lots of walls. There is no shame in talking to animals. I do it … all the … time. I need to get a hobby.


  3. Why or why did this post give me the giggles, I do not know but it did


  4. Oh i GET the tanooki suit reference. I loved mario in it because raccoons (aka trash pandas) are freaking ADORABLE. That raccoon is now your pet, you have to take care of it and feed it and have conversations with it nightly. He’s like your real life patronus. Sorry, I don’t make the rules (except I just did.) I’m very happy for both of you.


  5. I hate it when I’m caught talking to myself by someone other than myself. Yesterday, I (a therapist. I know, right?) stepped out of my office to look for a client in the waiting room. He wasn’t there – he was in the hallway. I said something to myself about him not being here on time. But oops, he was sitting a foot from me as I spoke to myself about him. I hate it when that happens.


  6. Swearing a lot is such an easy bad habit to fall into. (Before I cleaned it up, that sentence read: “Swearing a fuck ton is such a motherfucking easy bad habit to fall the fuck into.”)


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