Dear Parks Staff,
I really hope you don’t have video surveillance in the park. If you do, let me explain.
It’s not what it looked like, I swear. I mean, yes, I did kick that garbage can. Okay, I’ll admit, I kicked it three times. I meant it for the best, though. You saw my dog getting all interested in it, jumping up and basically just being all over that trash receptacle, right? I couldn’t just let it go.
Why three times? Well, the first time, I could have sworn I heard something, but that could just have been the hollow thud distorted by plastic. The second, though, nada. The third, I thought I heard something, only it was fainter, but the dog was still freaking out.
You work in Toronto. You know what’s out there. R.O.U.S., we have them. Full grown raccoons that outweigh my dog do exist. They are the reason our trash-pickup compost bin is kept hung up on the wall with bungee cords holding the lid shut. Possums – basically demonic characters from a Tim Burton movie sprung to life.
On a side note, We are really big fans of the gigantic new garbage cans the city implemented – 5 feet tall with a big heavy lid, we no longer need to bungee our bins shut, and the raccoons seem to get the idea that pulling the lid up enough to squeeze in would be a bad life choice. I’m not so sure it was a good idea to modify the lids of the ones in parks to include a big permanent opening for easy waste disposal, though.
I think the book 1984 stuck with me in unusual ways, because I was torn between “some poor animal is TRAPPED in the garbage can” and “There’s a raccoon in there, and if I get too close, it’ll latch onto my head with its creepy little child-fingers and chew my face off.”
Which is why I tried poking the lid open with a stick, while holding my arm over my face like I was dracula. It makes perfect sense – the raccoon latches on, but my arm is in the way and can push it off. Science, that’s what that is. Though the stick was less scientifically effective. in order to get the lid high enough, I’d have been almost fully suspended over the bin, and in full danger of face-attack.
We retreated, temporarily, to discuss options. With Gwynn tied up far from the bin of doom, I came around behind, and pulled the lid open, bracing myself for the explosion of bandit-faced doom. So, yeah, nothing came out but an ominous hissing noise.
Part of me, at this point, was thinking “Oh thank god, it’s a cat!”, but the instinctive part of me was saying “Oh crap, it’s angry, run away!” Don’t judge – you weren’t there.
Speaking of, Doodle suggested calling you guys, but I figured that at 7pm, in the rain, you and animal control would be indifferent to the plight of a garbage-can beast. But you could thank us for doing your job.
We retreated – what might have appeared to an outside observer to be us conferring about how next to abuse the garbage can. And waited, but nothing emerged.
Just to be clear, I wasn’t attacking the garbage-can beast, I was trying to give it an out. But unfortunately I think the stick I threw (from a distance) into the garbage can probably just beaned him in the head. It was meant to be a freedom stick, though, i swear.
We were still not entirely sure whether there was something in there. Actual leaning over the garbage can was necessary. Doodle and I pulled up our hoods, which might have appeared to be us trying to belatedly hide our identities, but was in the hope of reducing the things the beast would have to hold on to. Dracula arm up, and prepared for face-attack, I leaned in.
It’s too bad I didn’t have my phone, because there was the cutest little (cat-sized) raccoon in the nearly empty garbage bin. Completely unable to get out.
And looking really really pissed off while non-stop hissing. Reach my arm in? HAH.
It’s at this point, I know, that any footage of our behaviour would have gotten a bit strange (like tentatively attacking a garbage can wasn’t strange enough, I know). It’s just that we didn’t want it taking its wrath at having been soundblasted with garbage can kicks and then thwacked with a stick out on us.
So we pushed the can over on its side and ran away.
What? We gave it enough time to theoretically get out and scramble up a tree, and then checked. Unfortunately, by then, it was full dark, so we couldn’t be sure that there wasn’t anything in there.
In conclusion, dear park staff, while there are plenty of jerks who knock over your garbage cans for fun, that was not our intent. We knocked it over for freedom. And didn’t pick it up afterwards, also for freedom.
Concerned citizens willing to fight and defeat
dragons garbage cans in order to rescue fair maidens potentially giant beasts of the night. Trashy freedom fighters.
**Update – I completely forgot to mention that the artwork is by my fabulously talented sister and comrade in arms, Doodle!**