Thursday, September 15, 2016

Yeah...I'm Not Okay With This

Hey, Friends.

Weird bit of excitement today.  It all started around noontime when a coworker asked me if I had seen what happened near my house.  I had no clue, but I saw he was bringing up an article in the local paper.  Fantastic. What could possibly have happened now?  My top three guesses were:

  • Fire of some sort
  • Crack house got busted
  • Sting operation for allegedly running guns and drugs

Why were those my top 3 guesses?  Because they have all happened on my street since I bought my house 6 years ago.  And before you ask, Friends -- 2 and 3 were separate incidents involving different neighbors. I don't live in a bad area. I swear! However, I think it goes a long way in explaining why I pay attention when I notice weird shit going down in my neighborhood.

What I was not expecting was the story he actually pulled up:

Yeah.  Read that.  Join in my moment of WTF-ness.

Honestly, I probably wouldn't have believed him if I hadn't read the article myself...from a link that someone else emailed me. It is entirely too bizarre for words.

I find this disturbing for a few reasons -- not the least of which is that they haven't updated the story to say the bear has left the area or, more likely, been hit by a car or shot.  


Sorry for the interruption, Friends.  As I was writing this up last night the power went out. The lights blinked on and off a few times, and then darkness descended.  I finished that last sentence, then turned off the computer.  I lit a candle for a little light in the house, then grabbed my phone and went outside to explore and see how big the power outage was -- hoping it wasn't just like my house, or me and one other house.  

It was odd.  We weren't having a storm of any kind with winds that should have done any damage.  I hadn't heard any loud noises -- like a transformer blowing, or an accident nearby that hit a pole.  This was about 10 pm last night.

So I'm strolling the neighborhood in my pajamas, doing my own little survey of how big the outage appears to be.  My entire street is definitely out. Streetlights and traffic lights on the highway are out, and that's really bad as there are accidents there all of the time even when the lights are working. A large chunk of Main Street appears to be out as well, but from the top of our hill I can see that a couple blocks over and to the right the lights appear to be on.  Very odd.

I stop to chat with a neighbor who was out to walk her dog briefly.  Another neighbor comes home and tells us she was just at the Pizzeria Uno down the street.  The lights went out there, but they must have a generator because they came back up, but all of the lights everywhere else are out -- so now that's 3 major intersections involving the highway in both directions that are out.

I get the job of calling in the outage to the power company since my phone is the only one fully charged.  They give me an estimated restoration time of midnight, and none of us believe that it will really happen.  We part ways listening to the symphony or car horns and sirens that has begun.

A while later I'm back outside, as there was just a loud crunch like there might have been an accident.  I wander over to take a look at the highway and see if I now need to call 911. I don't see anything, and as I'm wandering back inside it occurs to me that it is probably really stupid to be wandering around in the dark, in my pajamas, with only my phone, because there was a fucking bear in the neighborhood this morning and how did I forget that it could still be wandering around out here with me?  I was literally just writing about it when the power went out!

I bump into yet another neighbor who is out to see what happened.  We chat briefly and this happens:

Yeah.  So now that half my neighbors have seen me in my pajamas, I decided that I'm just going to stay inside for the rest of the night.  Plus, you know, BEAR IN THE AREA.

Thankfully, around 11:45pm the power came back on.  


Hi again, Friends.

So after a few hours of away time what with the power outage and the need for sleep, we are back. There was a bear, and I think I was about to explain why I was less than thrilled about it.

Before we go any further (and it might really be too late based on what I've written above) I need you to hold up your right hand and swear that none of you will turn into creepy stalkers and try to figure out exactly where I live.  I'm not talking to those of you that I actually know and that have been to my house before -- obviously it's cool and you are welcome.  I'm talking to my unknown Friends here online.  Promise you won't get creepy.  I think this entry alone makes it quite clear I already have enough weird-ass problems going on without adding "stalker" to the list.  It's not that I don't love you, Friends, but I don't need random people stopping by unannounced and making this all strange and unsettling.  If you're ever in the area and just desperately need to hang out with me, I'm sure we can work that out ahead of time and meet for coffee or something.  You know, when it wouldn't be weird and stalker-ish.

Everyone done with their "I'm Not Going To Be A Creepy Stalker" oath?  Fantastic.

First:  I'm worried about the bear itself.  This area is not meant for large wildlife to hang out and chill. The poor thing has to be seriously lost. How the heck did it even manage to get here to begin with? Maybe it wandered down the rail trail from somewhere else, but to get over in my neighborhood it still had to navigate across a lot of busy intersections and major roads.

That's Main Street.  Big intersection right there that always has accidents.  And yes, that would be the Uno's that still had power last night.

This is the intersection on Main Street where the bear was sighted.  

The block in between on Main Street, early on a foggy morning.  I couldn't pictures of everything for you yesterday, so this one is older.

Highway intersection on the other side of my street.  This also had no power last night. As you can clearly see in the picture, people almost hit each other on a regular basis even when the lights are working.

Sunset over Holy Trinity's parking lot last night -- after the bear sighting and before the power outage.

I'm really hoping they catch the bear before he gets himself injured, or causes and accident.  I don't even know if it's a young bear, probably lost and looking for his way home, or a big bear who came in search of food, or what the case may be.  I just hope it doesn't wind up hurt or dead.

Second:  The Interloper.  The Interloper is a feral cat that lives in my neighborhood.  It was born a couple of years after I moved in, and it used to chill in my back yard with it's Mama cat and two siblings.  Sadly, Interloper is the only one left now.  I hadn't seen Interloper for quite a while, but for the past month or so it has taken to hanging out in my back yard or on my back steps.  Most mornings when I wake up and go into the kitchen, I can see Interloper sitting up and looking at me through the back door of the porch, and giving me sad eyes and looking hungry.  Needless to say, I have now begun giving Interloper breakfast every morning.  That's how Interloper got its name.  Jazz-kitty is all cool with other cats walking around outside -- she just watches from the windows.  She never growls, or puffs up or anything.  As soon as the food started going out the door in the morning?  Jazz-kitty was not a fan of that happening. That's her food and she really didn't want to be sharing it with some unknown, outdoor menace.  Jazz follows me onto the back porch each time, and then sits in the window and glares daggers at the Interloper while it eats.  

The point of all that: I'm worried about The Interloper accidentally having a run in with the bear.  I don't even want to think about what would happen, and I really don't want to find an injured Interloper in my yard one morning that will have to go to the vet.  (I can report that Interloper was just here for breakfast this morning, looking fine and dandy.)

Third:  The advice in the article is ridiculous! I know they don't really have anything else they can say, but it is so totally dumb in this situation.

"Cleaning outdoor grills after use, removing bird feeders, and not leaving pet food outside are all ways to limit bear encounters. Garbage cans should be kept inside in a secure area and placed outside the morning of pick up."

I'm sorry, but that is the least of your problems in my neighborhood.  I don't think the bear wandered over here because of my neighbor's grill, or a bird feeder, or the empty cat bowl The Interloper uses. As I was discussing with the coworker who showed me the article, the residents are the least likely to be attracting the bear.

In that little stretch of a couple of blocks on Main Street, in either direction, there are a shit ton of better options for a hungry bear than a bird feeder.  We tried to name all of them.

Wendy's, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, KFC, at least 2 bars, 2 convenience stores, 2 Mexican restaurants, a Chinese restaurant, a pizzeria, Noshi's Coney Island Hot Dogs, a Vietnamese restaurant, Pizzeria Uno's, and the Acropolis Diner.  That's not even counting all of the restaurants in the area that run the length of a busy cross street.  If the bear is hungry, it has much better options than someone's grill or a bird feeder.  

Fourth:  I really don't need to meet the bear face to face.  I don't want it to get hurt, but I also don't want to encounter a pissed off or scared bear and end up getting mauled.  That's the stuff for nightmares and movies, and until yesterday I didn't think it would actually be possible in my neighborhood.  

So, that's what has been going on in my little corner of the world, Friends.  We've had a lot of excitement in the last 24 hours.  Today seems pretty normal so far, so let's hope it stays that way.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a good, bear-free day!

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