I saw my first white squirrel on Sunday when I was cutting through the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. I'd heard that there were a few of them in nearby Trinity Bellwoods Park, but had never seen one. I stopped to watch it for a minute and then kept looking back at it as I walked away. Apparently there are lots of white squirrels in Exeter, Ontario -- enough that The Chickens (four of the five members of the band hail from that small southwestern Ontario town) wrote a song called White Squirrel Town on their Prepare To Plug In album. It's a great song from a great album, and its Bring It On successor also rocks. The Chickens are the best live band in Toronto and, if you haven't heard them, you should. Visit www.thechickens.com to hear samples, see a clip from the band's appearance on Little Steven's Underground Garage MTV special, find tour dates and, of course, buy stuff.
I saw a crack pipe in the stairway leading to my underground garage yesterday. It was the first time I had seen one there. Human excrement, yes. But not a crack pipe.
But that still wasn't as unusual as on a fall afternoon about five years ago when I was coming up those stairs out of the garage and, as soon as I turned the corner to walk to my townhouse, I saw a coyote five metres in front of me. Since I live in downtown Toronto, that's not something you see everyday. I figured that it must have been from High Park, which is a few kilometres west of my place. But for it to be that lost, I figured it must have been rabid and disoriented. We stared each other down for about two minutes, with neither of us moving. The coyote then turned and ran into the courtyard of our complex and then disappeared.
Two months ago I was very hot and decided to sleep on my couch because there was a nice breeze blowing in from the screen door on my back deck. I guess I wasn't sleeping very soundly because I awoke around 5 a.m. after hearing a noise. I looked up to see a racoon's face a metre away from mine. The rascal had managed to open my screen door and was sticking its head in to investigate what kind of goodies it might be able to get its claws on. I jumped up and made some sort of bad animal noise and it turned around and ran out. It climbed up to my third-storey deck, where I saw two younger racoons. I watched until they eventually climbed to someone else's deck.
I apparently got lucky. I was talking to some neighbours at a party two weeks ago and two of them told me that racoons had actually got inside their townhouses, ate some food, caused some damage and generally made a mess. One of them chased the varmint out with a broom after chasing it around the place, while another got her dog to do the same thing. I like watching racoons, but I don't want to live with any.
np The Sadies - Stories Often Told