20 April 2010

Doraphobia (Which Isn't Fear of Dora the Explorer)

Despite my father's best efforts to impart his love of God's green earth and all its inhabitants, I still managed to maintain some of my skittishness when it comes to the furrier creatures. Actually, I wouldn't call it skittishness - it's downright doraphobia (for all you hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobes out there, that's fear of fur).

You might imagine, then, that as I pulled into my driveway this evening and noticed a GIANT FURRY THING scurry down the trunk of a tree in our front yard, I was somewhat alarmed - okay, really alarmed. As the form stepped into clarity under the front porch light, I realized my furry friend was a very healthy racoon. (He must've been eating all the cat food that the lady next door sets out for the neighborhood strays. That would explain why the cats are all so skinny - and this racoon was so freakin' big!)

I thought surely he would scamper off into the night at the sound of my vehicle on the gravel driveway (it works well for the feral cats) - but no. This racoon was defiant. He sat down on the porch.

Don't get scared now, I thought to myself. After all, I'm the one in the 2000-pound vehicle.

I pulled into the garage, my mind rapidly flashing scenes of a crazed (and rabid) racoon destroying our house after scampering in while I checked the mailbox. Quickly I checked the rearview mirror to see if he had come around the corner of the house. (I needed to be prepared, okay?) The coast was clear, but my hands began to shake as I gathered my things. I cursed the now oversized gym bag and heavy stack of travel books - items definitely not facilitating a quick getaway, should the furry mongrel charge at me.

As I looked up, I saw a shadowy figure creep around the house and along the flagstone path. The racoon was coming after me! He must have sensed my fear, I thought. Summoning my courage, I stomped the ground (a method I also find successful in scaring off stray cats). But the racoon just picked up speed!

I fumbled to close the gate behind me, realizing my feeble attempt at protection. This would provide no obstacle for the enormity of this racoon, no doubt he would clear the chain-link easily. With trembling hands, I grasped desperately for my house key. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a flash of fur on the other side of the fence.

The garage! I thought. I had forgotten to close it. Now the racoon will destroy all of Clay's tools instead of our house! Sheer terror began to set in.

I struggled to unlock the back door, finally pushing it open as the furry goblin hopped over the fence. I watched him cautiously through the screen door, and for a minute our eyes met. (That gleaming thing is really creepy.) Then the little furball scampered off into the darkness, and I quickly locked the deadbolt.

Of course, I realize that this story further illuminates my irrational doraphobia. (Don't judge me.) I am okay with this character flaw, especially now that I am safe and sound inside my furless house.


karen said...

jessica, this made me laugh out loud! not at your expense, but at the way you wrote about it! oh my, i think i would've freaked out with those eyes shining back at me, too! hope ricky raccoon finds a place to nest, far away from yours!

Jaci said...

There was a raccoon on the roof of my apartment a couple of months ago. I've been running from my car up three flights of stairs to get to my apartment every night since.