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Paul Turner: Furry rendezvous can stink up a night


One thing we need to remember at this time of year in Spokane is skunks don’t think the way we do.

They’re animals.

They don’t see you open a window to let in a cool evening breeze and think, “Ah, that’s my cue – time to fire off a few squirts of my special sauce.”

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

When my neighbor’s cat was alive and patrolling our backyards, the alarming aroma of eau de polecat immediately brought to mind a prime suspect.


On any number of occasions, getting a subsequent whiff of that irascible feline seemed to confirm our suspicions that she had been the instigator.

For the record, she never admitted her guilt nor did she ever seem all that contrite. But let’s just say the smell of the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming.

But here’s the thing. She’s gone now, yet the staggering salvos of skunk scent continue.

How to explain this?

Yes, I am aware there are plenty of other creatures roaming the South Hill night that might alarm skunks. But I don’t understand how my yard came to be a contentious crossroads for interspecies conflict.

Maybe other area families have experienced this, too. I don’t know.

But it makes me wonder. Was it something I said?

I know I declared at the outset that skunks don’t think the way we do. That has to be right, doesn’t it? I’m no animal psychologist, but it seems unlikely that skunks are motivated by grudges or a warped sense of humor.

Still, the connection between opening a window and, before long, being engulfed in skunk stink seems uncanny. It’s almost as if they are out there under the bushes, waiting and watching.

Crazy, I know.

But have you ever been in your home and heard a sound coming from outside that you could not explain?

Maybe it was skunks laughing.

Don’t do as I do

Some people, I’m sure, have the whole going-to-the-airport drill down pat. You know, individuals who fly all the time.

But for those of us who don’t, going to the airport can be a bit of an adventure.

Want to know what I do to spice up the proceedings? I’ll tell you.

Instead of doing what any sane person would do and going over the travel checklist before leaving home, I like to wait until we are in the car and on the way to catch the flight.

Then I start in.

“Got your driver’s license?”

That way, the farther from home we get, the greater the chance that turning around to go back and get a phone-charger cord might make us miss the flight.

So going over the informal checklist becomes something like walking through a minefield. Yes, you want to confirm that a family member has her pills and credit cards, but you almost wince as you ask – afraid of what you might hear.

Take five

Something on the electronic reader board outside a Spokane middle school caught my eye.

“Jazz Parents.”

I assume it had something to do with a certain subset of moms and dads of students who are studying music at that school.

I didn’t have time to read the whole message. But I admit I spent a moment daydreaming about the Jazz Parents.

Do they affect a certain cooler-than-cool style and refer to themselves as cats?

Do they say “Bebop” and “Tasty, very tasty” a lot?

Are they more hip than, say, soccer parents?

Do they take an improvisational approach to discipline and smell like reefer?

Spokane goes on vacation

“My aunt had a work conference in Las Vegas, so I went along and sponged.” – Overheard at the dentist’s office.

Reader challenge

Prove you care even less about royal weddings than I do.

I don’t believe it can be done.

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