Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taking Arley Lessons

When "Young and Hip" first started many months ago, I was caught in an epic battle between good and evil with the raccoons in our backyard. Actually, it was more like a philosophical discussion over the right of humans to assert ownership over natural spaces. I believed that as resident of the house, I earned the right to do my hip exercises in my own pool. The raccoons, however, decried my capitalistic interpretation of land ownership and asserted that the pool was their food-washing sink and I should stop ruining their appetite with my faux-jean boardshort swim trunks from 1997.

Whenever I would dog paddle around in the pool, they would chatter at me from the water's edge and critique my form. At the time, I was cocky enough to yell at them, thinking that raccoons hated to swim and I was safe in the water. (In hindsight, I was probably confusing them with cats). When I still wouldn't vacate the pool, they stole one of my crutches and laid it across the pool's entrance as a makeshift "trespassers will be prosecuted" sign and then proceeded to throw anything they could find into the pool and steal my goggles for the rest of the summer. (Clearly, they'd been reading Che Guevara's writing on urban guerrilla tactics). Happily, tensions were resolved after we saved a raccoon who was getting his ass handed to him (literally) by a coyote on our porch. (Yeah, I'm really not helping the stereotype of Canada being nothing but wilderness. I swear that we live in the suburbs).

Winter came and I thought that the raccoons had waddled off in search of greener pastures and more abundant garbage cans. Recently, however, my sister's dog Sashimi has been going crazy for apparently no reason and it turns out that she wasn't just nuts: she was hearing the raccoons out in our backyard. And what were they doing there? Swimming! Dog paddling around in our pool! You know, doing their hip exercises. Those little buggers can swim! And, according to WikiAnswers (the ultimate source of knowledge), they can reach speeds of 4.3 km/hr (translation: faster than me, dammit). Not only that, but apparently they can swim in whatever chemicals we put in our pool to preserve it throughout the winter.

Yes, the raccoons have been taking Arley lessons. They must have watched me flailing helplessly around and thought, "Damn, I can do better than that my stubby little legs can barely support my weight." I think the students have bested the teacher. (Actually, their waddling gait is surprisingly similar). While I've been splashing around to the lyrical stylings of Ricky Martin at deep water aerobics, the raccoons have taken over my pool and have been doing some laps. Every day's a polar-bear swim for them!

First, the rats eat my car and try to murderize me. Next, the raccoons assert dominance over my pool. I am like the anti-Cinderella. I think it might be best to avoid any wild-game preserves or shark tanks from here on in.


  1. Rats and raccoons are gross. Show them who's boss (=you); other animals are cute, so not all of animal kingdom is against you. It's just that in these tough economic times, those rodenty creatures turn nasty =)

  2. Glad you’re doing swimming for hip exercises because it is recommended, as what I’ve heard from a friend who had hip replacement but was under the DePuy Pinnacle Recall and those raccoons are pesky. Maybe you trained them well.