There’s a raccoon on my head.
And I don’t particularly look good in hats.
Especially when they’re still moving.
I certainly wish this were one of those, “Hey, look at me standing here on vacation in The Wall Drug Store wearing a $15 coon skin cap pretending to be Daniel Boone, so hurry up and take the Goddamn picture!” moments, but it’s not.
No, my cap is very much alive, very much pissed off, and very much sporting a bad stink, a head filled with razor fangs, and a lot of painfully sharp claws.
But I guess I’d be pissed off, too, if someone interrupted my late night dinner reservation.
Who knew that in the woods you simply can’t shove a forgotten bag of trash into your garbage can?
That’s because I’m a city boy, a self-obsessed gay man who intentionally bedazzled himself in roughly $1,000 worth of trendy clothing just to walk the trash out in the middle of fucking nowhere!
I honestly believe, deep down, that I am like K-Fed in Vegas, or some pseudo-celebrity on vacation who just might be ambushed by the paparazzi at any moment.
But I’m really just a lost soul, in every possible way.
Not long ago, I moved to the woods of Michigan from the city, because I wanted to be a modern-day Henry David Thoreau.
My goal? To find myself, to find my modern-day Walden Pond, by stripping away superfluous luxuries, and living a plainer, simpler life.
Thoreau famously wrote:
And he is right. The woods have already taught me something of great value: I am going to die. Specifically, I am going to die after being disfigured by a raccoon.
But at least I have had a life-changing epiphany, albeit a bit too late. The epiphany, “Never go to a place that doesn’t have a Starbucks within arm’s reach or you might find a wild animal clinging to your scalp” has already edged out my all-time favorite epiphany, the one I had in eighth grade: “My God, my thingy doesn’t seem to work when I kiss girls!”
The raccoon digs its claws into the side of my head, and begins to burrow, like it’s trying to bury the apple core it still has in its mouth into the middle of my brain.
Excerpted from AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life © Copyright 2010 by Wade Rouse. Reprinted with permission by Three Rivers Press. All rights reserved.