Bad neighbor

Yesterday evening, about an hour before dark, I decided to listen to some music — something I rarely do any more, aside from the occasional YouTube music video — while enjoying a cold beverage out on my front porch. The living room, being currently carpetless and devoid of furniture, is a great echo chamber, so I carried in my old boombox, set it on the floor, and put in an R. L. Burnside tape. It sounded good.

About five minutes later, I was startled out of my reverie by something banging out from underneath the porch. I went over to the rail and looked down: it was the porcupine. As I watched, he waddled across the yard and began climbing the elm tree, which was killed by Dutch elm disease two years ago. “Hey, you moron!” I called. “That tree’s DEAD!”

The porcupine ignored me and continued climbing. His purpose became clear when he reached the first big crotch and promptly stretched out and went to sleep. I was chagrined. You might think I have it made, living out here in the woods — that I never have to worry about bothering anybody. But it’s not really any different than living in town. I can’t even play my music loud after supper without disturbing the neighbors in the crawl space under the house, most of whom probably work the night shift.

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14 Comments


  1. Hey, as long as you didn’t have the bass boost on, maybe he was just coming out to hear better.

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  2. Fred – Lucky you. I never did get to see RL before he passed. He was scheduled to play in State College once, but he got sick and they sent Jack Frost instead. Which wasn’t at all the same.

    Zhoen – Heh. No bass boost on this machine. But I think he was pretty clearly trying to get away from it, and probably succeeding. I don’t think porcupines have especially acute hearing.

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  3. We have a lot of “night shift” critters down here and I wonder how some of them cope with our human racket. Thanks for the smile.I think I see a Thurberesque sketch comin’ up…

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  4. Speaking from the perspective of a longtime nurse, let me assure you…hell hath no fury like an awoken shiftworker!

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  5. dinahmow – Thanks for stopping by. I guess the spirit of James Thurber was in the wings somewhere.

    wobblewax – I worked the night shift ina restaurant for a couple of years, part of it in a basement apartment. I fully emphathized with that porcupine – well, not enough to turn the music down. But I felt his pain.

    Peter – Really? Cool.

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  6. Hey, be glad he just went outside… if he’d decided to come in to complain, it might have gotten painful! (What would needle-punctures do to your speakers?) ;-)

    Anyway, when you’re crashing at someone else’s pad, you don’t get to complain about their music….

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  7. That’s true. And I’m sure I wouldn’t complain, if he were ever to play music. But chewing on the beams right under my head at 3:00 in the morning – that’s a different story.

    Reply

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