There was a bump in the middle of the night. It was a noise loud enough to wake me but not enough to make me get up. At one time a pager or phone would get me up and out in a flash, but this time I mumbled, “bloody raccoons,” and went back to sleep.
The raccoons in my neighbourhood are graduates of RIT, Racoon Institute of Technology. There is no varmint-proof can or lock they can’t open. I am sure they bring younger ones around for training on a regular basis. This summer I installed a security light to send them scurrying away, but they seem to really appreciate the outdoor illumination I have provided for them.
They separate the garbage into three piles, edible, cardboard and paper, and plastic and whatever. It seems they are pointing out to me that I could be doing a better job of recycling. But on investigation the next morning, there was no sign of raccoons that might have made the noise.
I pass my son in the hallway and we share one of those stimulating father/son conversations.
“We’re out of toilet paper,” he says. “I’m going shopping today,” is my reply. Then I remember to ask him if he was banging around in the middle of the night.
“What do you call the middle of the night?” he asks.
It is then I realize the similarity between many of today’s youth and raccoons. They are not visible during daylight, but in the morning there is evidence they are in the neighbourhood somewhere. But there is still no solution to the thump in the dark.
I open my closet to get a shirt and there is the answer. The plastic thingy holding up one end of the closet rod has broken and my clothes are all on the closet floor. I choose the shirt closest to the top of the pile and close the door. Two days later, I remember to get the piece I need, a stronger metal bracket, and I start sorting through the clothes.
A couple of shirts are my Dad’s, I don’t ever wear them but they’re Dad’s. One old sweater is my sick sweater that I wear when I’m getting a cold or the flu. All those have to stay. There are a bunch of uniform shirts and pants, and a couple of suits that will never fit again, those can go. I start making piles.
I find some old long lost friends, clothes that I always liked and forgot I had. I find out I have almost twice as many ties as I thought I had, and quite a few articles that I don`t remember ever wearing.
The piles grow and soon I can put the rod back up on its new bracket. I realize I now have a much stronger bracket holding up a much lighter load. I had thought about getting a closet organizer system, but now I don’t need it.
There is a bunch of stuff on the closet floor as well. I sort through that, wondering why I would keep all the old broken shoes. They go into the garbage pile, but I save the laces. After all, you never know when you might need an emergency shoe lace.
I survey my three piles, washing, garbage, and thrift store, and I know those raccoons couldn’t have done a better job of sorting. At least that’s what McGregor says.