When you see the words “raccoon in the crawlspace” written out in black and white, on an email, it seems like a straightforward problem that can be solved by a nuisance wildlife removal service, like Allstate Animal Control. But, when you’re standing in the shower, late at night, and you hear scratching and shuffling coming from the other side of the shower wall, it feels completely different. You feel vulnerable, and it’s spooky, and childish fears make you remember horror movies in which shower scenes are never good, and it takes a while for the adult in you to kick in and realize you probably just have a raccoon in the crawlspace.
That’s what happened to a distant relative of mine. She and her husband live in a nice condominium in a settled neighborhood. They don’t exactly live in the boondocks – it’s not a heavily forested area, nor is it surrounded by farms. Neither the previous owners, nor their neighbors had complained of wild animals in the area. So, a raccoon in the crawlspace was the furthest thing from her mind as she prepared for her shower one late evening.
It had been an extremely long day. She’s a junior high school teacher, and she had a couple of rough classes followed by parent/teacher conferences that lasted late into the evening. Of course, she wasn’t done with her day when she got home, because she had papers to grade and a test to work up. It was normal when her husband kissed her after putting the dinner dishes in the sink, and retired upstairs to watch some television before bed, while she worked on into the night.
A few hours later, after hunching over paper after paper, she decided a nice, warm shower was the perfect way to unwind before bed. She quietly entered their master suite, so she wouldn’t wake up her husband, got her things and went into the bathroom. She turned the water on hot and let it warm up while she lit a candle and turned off the lights. Soon, the hot water was raining down on her neck, relieving some of the tension that had built up over the day.
Then, she heard the softest little scratching coming from behind the wall. At first, she ignored it, figuring it was really just the sound of the water. It happened again, though, and again, and her mind started racing. It didn’t sound at all like the house settling, or water through the pipes. It wasn’t a mechanical sound.
She managed to keep her mind from wandering too much down the paths of old remembered horror movies, and she managed to keep from shouting out to wake up her husband. It soon occurred to her that they probably just had a raccoon in the crawlspace, and she would have to do something about it tomorrow. She’d send off an email to Allstate Animal Control first thing. The only thing she’d have to decide is whether or not to tell her husband before his morning shower . . .