Category Archives: Suburbia

Something Stirring in the Night

Every once in a while, Bogart will wake up in the middle of the night and start barking for no apparent reason. Perhaps he heard someone walk by our window or maybe the house creaked and he got spooked. Either way, it’s usually innocuous.

At a little past 4:00am on the Sunday before last, the barking began once again. I awoke to see Bogart barking at the window which was glowing with an alternating pattern of blue and white lights.

“Put your hands on the Dashboard, where I can see them” boomed a deep voice from the darkness. At this point, I had realized that for once, Bogart was actually alerting us to possible danger rather than the loud rumble of the garbage truck.

Continue reading Something Stirring in the Night

Messing with the natural order

Over the last several months (actually, probably over the last few years), local news stations have highlighted stories of the increased presence of wild animals in the suburbs of greater Boston.  Some of you out there are aware of my completely justifiable fear of bears in the suburbs.  Hey, they have been spotted in several towns and they break into people’s homes, as do deer and moose.  And not just homes, either, but banks, travel agencies, and various other businesses.  There has been a rash of deer and moose crashing through the front windows of businesses, running amok inside, leaping over desks, and then fleeing through the broken window.  Apparently, they mistake their reflection for a foe and leap at it, then they spend a hot minute seeking out this dastardly beast before giving up.  Many of these have been caught on tape.  I guess it’s New England’s answer to Los Angeles’ high-speed car chases. 

A more visible and prevalent threat, however, is the coyote.  They’re spotted more and more every day and by most accounts, they are little bastards.  They’re bold, they’re hungry, and they get what they want.  Just the other night, a Boston news broadcast showed a cute elderly couple who’s beloved dog, Shadow, was attacked and killed by a coyote in broad daylight.  Not only did they have no children, but they adopted this older dog from a woman who died from cancer.  So, they were good, caring people.  The husband was more visably upset than his wife, as he mentioned how Shadow kept him company.  The wife explained how you wouldn’t even know Shadow was there, that’s how quiet and well-behaved he was. 

This couple adored their dog.  A portrait of Shadow hung in a place of honor in their parlor, with several photographs arranged on tables throughout.  You don’t necessarily have to be a dog lover or dog owner to be empathetic.  If you have grandparents, that’ll do it. 

In the two-minute story, a state wildlife official mentioned how “they are encroaching in our areas.”  Excuse me?  Aren’t we (the humans) the ones who are usurping they’re (the wild animals) areas?  There are houses now located in areas that wild animals used to have to themselves.  It’s no wonder bears, deer, and coyotes are bumping into humans and pets more often.  They aren’t moving into our neighborhoods.  Rather, we are moving into their homes.

After Shadow’s unfortunate demise, state wildlife officials shot and killed at least two coyotes.  That seems rather unfair and severe, considering the coyote was in his/her natural habitat and just doing what a coyote does.  Seems we’re messing with the natural order here.

Lights, Lights, Baby

The neighbor who lives across the street from me is a scary man.  As far as I know, he’s unemployed and a felon.  His wife supports the family (they have two young children) and some say it’s because he’s under house arrest, ankle GPS tracking device and all.  A couple of summers ago, he used a garden hose to beat an elderly neighbor so badly, that the old man had to be hospitalized.  [And this was after he was already under this alleged house arrest for a previous felony.]  A broken nose and a headful of cuts and bruises were just some of the injuries.  Why did he beat up this man?  Typical suburban neighbor stuff, like shrubs creeping over the property line, or something.  You know, a good enough reason to kick the ass of a man who can’t defend himself.

This guy has never bothered me.  He once called the cops on my housemates and I, which wasn’t cool, but we were being loud out on the (enclosed) front porch past 1am.  His house is really nice, too.  He puts out some, but not too many, lights for just about every occasion.  His Christmas star atop the chimney can be see from quite a distance.  His Halloween display, complete with scary sounds and music, draws trick-or-treaters from all over town, and his current set up (for St. Valentine’s Day?) resembles the star lights from the bowling alley in The Big Lebowski

That leads me to my main point – the other lights.  He has two or three very bright spotlights mounted on the lawn and pointed at…nothing in particular.  I know a lot of people shine spotlights to show off a fancy lawn ornament or a Christmas wreath on the door, but this guy is spotlighting a baby oak tree and a bare gray fence.  It’s just odd and it never ceases to catch my eye.  I stand there, in a slight trance, just shaking my head.  It’s as if I’m on a mission, Where’s Waldo? style, to find what he’s trying to show off.

People in suburbia do strange things.