It is 5:15 a.m. and the hamsters are rattling around in their cage. The moon is a crescent and in my driveway I see something shuffling along. A raccoon. I am sitting on the steps of my kitchen stoop eating a lukewarm bowl of Maruchan Ramen Noodles with Vegetables (Hot & Spicy Chicken Flavor). The raccoon stops about ten feet away.
I know this guy, he’s a regular visitor. On two occasions he craftily pried open my large outdoor plastic garbage can, dropped inside it, and feasted on the remains of past meals. When he couldn’t get out, he made a huge racket and I had to tip over the can so he could escape. He hissed at me and I was stuck with picking up the littered garbage off my lawn.
I dig a few Ramen noodles out of the paper bowl and throw them to him. There’s no hesitation. He picks them up and scarfs them down, then looks insolently my way. More. What the hell. I’m not really hungry. I place the half-empty bowl in the middle of the driveway, a short distance from my feet. The raccoon approaches, not wary in the least, picks up the bowl and sticks his head in it.
I can’t help but remember when I was dating my soon-to-be-second wife, a lovely Vietnamese woman who took me to a pho place. It was my first time in one of these traditional restaurants. We sat at a communal table with her kids. I watched as an elderly Asian lady across from me lowered most of her head in the soup bowl and noisily sucked in noodles. When she came up, she smacked her lips and gave me a gap-toothed grin that I returned. It was a good moment.
The raccoon is destroying the paper noodle bowl with his paws and teeth. I stand and wave my arms. He almost shrugs, drops the bowl and ambles away. I see him enter the bamboo patch near my garage and vanish.
On the kitchen counter, the Roborovski hamsters are dancing a caged fandango. There are two of them, tiny little furry creatures full of curiosity. I watch as both of them climb aboard their exercise wheel and start running in tandem. Is this collaboration or competition?
The raccoon returns. I get a handful of nuts and toss them in the driveway. He eats most of them save for the coconut-flavored cashews from Trader Joe’s , which is a shame because I don’t like the cashews either and I have two bagfuls I would have gladly sacrificed
The sky is turning pink. I don’t much care for Sunday mornings. I miss the Sunday intimacy of bed and breakfast as a couple. Sunday morning may be a bountiful time for the raccoon but it is not a good time to be single.