. . . or are they already too civilized?
Humans don’t appear to be the only ones languishing in the largess of pandemic handouts.
At least one and possibly two families of raccoons seem to have taken up permanent nocturnal residence adjacent to the free lunch buffet (otherwise known as a series of squirrel feeders) in Friend Mother’s backyard.
High-tech solutions have failed to dissuade them. Each night at sundown, a smart speaker warns that a raccoon watch has been issued for the area and that all peanuts and corn should be moved to an area of safety.
A motion-detecting camera and a motion-sensing switch on a squirrel feeder follow up like Doppler radar with a loud siren and “raccoon alert” message should anything rise up enough to get larcenously close to the corn and peanuts while the sun is down.
Like any popular lunch counter these days, the garden buffet records its patrons on video, ostensibly so non-paying culprits can be identified later without need for a police lineup.
Despite all such precautions, however, the raccoons remain brazen. We now have great video of a large one refusing to leave despite being shouted at from a patio door. He stares and stares and eventually moves a bit, only to continue peering out from behind a fence before finally leaving only after a human makes a definitive motion in his direction.
A trio of much younger raccoons act even more entitled when caught on video. Two on the ground scurry away, but a third hunkers down along a fence, freezes, and stares defiantly until a hose if connected, charged, and sprayed into his face.
Possibly an entrant in the varmint division of this summer’s Olympics, the raccoon then manages an impressive 10-foot broad jump over two fences onto pavement, depositing a puddle of water at splashdown before literally high-tailing it out of the yard.
Little do the raccoons know that, eventually, continued bellying up to the trough of generosity may result in discontinuation of free food for all. The bill for all their free dining someday will come due. When it does, perhaps the pandemic magically will transform them into human workers facing the same dilemma.
— ERIC MEYER