I was walking home, down a hill, in our LA suburb of Burbank the other evening when I suddenly noticed a family of raccoons hanging out in a front lawn right next to me. This was a full nuclear family unit, two big raccoons and three smaller ones. They scurried along in single file. I took out my keychain flashlight- I obsessively carry flashlights, army knives and bottle openers on my person for whatever dire Macguyver / Street Fighter emergency may arise- and pointed it at the raccoon family and watched them scurry away toward the next property. The only problem was the fence separating the two adjacent properties, which the raccoon family had to figure out and then climb over, using a nearby and various dense shrubbery to aid their ascent. They craftily made it over the fence, ran through the next yard and then scrambled across the cross street, looking like the mammal version of the human families, running in a chain, that one sees depicted on signs near the US/Mexican border. Raccoons, when I've seen them in our neighborhood, have an impressively cavalier attitude about people. They become mildly concerned and back away when I get a bit close, but their movements generally display an attitude of blase lack of concern and an almost forced insistence on appearing casual and not rushed. What strikes me most about the raccons, though, beside their intelligence and dexterity, is their adherence to a tight family structure. Here I am, living across a large continent from my parents and sister, who themselves live 200 miles apart, and these raccoons stick together like The Waltons, a compact, immediate family unit, no doubt with lots of communication between siblings and concern for the children by the parents. It made me wonder: "Who are the really civilized ones here?" I would love to think that somewhere, at some point in time, one of the raccoons would blog about running into me. That'd be one hell of a read!
The Suburban Animal Kingdom
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I am Adam Gropman, the only such-named person on Earth, I Googled it. I see and hear things and like to share my perceptions with you.