I kept wondering how deer managed to get watermelon rind out of the compost—which is a cement bunker-like thing on three sides, with a wire-mesh front and no top. I kept finding the rind outside the compost, with every bit of the pink scraped away. I thought, Wow, them deers really know how to use their hooves.
And then, tonight, I was carrying out a bowl of greens and fish scales in the dark, not wanting my house filled with fishy flies, and I spotted it in my flashlight beam: the raccoon. He jumped up from the bunker and onto one of the cement walls, and looked at me over his shoulder. He’d been scraping away at those watermelon rinds, and then tossing them over the fence.
I didn’t run, even though he looked at me with a lot of knowing. What did he know? He knew that I was the mother of all those bananas, radishes, carrots, and watermelon rinds. He knew that I had that bowl in my hand. He knew like a dog knows where his next meal was coming from, and it didn’t grow in that compost heap. OK, I thought of running, and didn’t only because running increases the odds of being chased. Nuff said.
So while I’m observing, I thought I’d tell you another one. I was in the city yesterday, in the West Fifties at 5:00, and there was a middle-aged woman who looked Greek, with a white shirt, a messy ponytail, and a quilted pocketbook over her shoulder directing traffic. She was not a cop—she was just a person. And the thing about it was that she was swinging both arms in both directions, like a little kid might, who’s seen a cop directing traffic, but not really grocked what it was all about. She wasn’t crazy.
And the funny thing was that every car who approached her, trying to get into the street that she was blocking, actually followed her direction. No one stopped and said, “Wait a minute—why can’t I go down that street? What’s down there? Your mother?” They just turned their cars in the direction of her swinging arms. I love that. We are a sweet, sad lot.
O.K., one more observation. Another thing I saw yesterday evening in that neighborhood, was a pretty young woman on a Vespa. She had perfect posture, and she was wearing watermelon-pink yoga pants, boot-cut, with matching lipstick, perfectly applied. Out of the back of her pants (I saw as I turned when she passed) rose a very conspicuous thong. I felt like a guy: was I being manipulated, or was I being entertained? Either way, I was amused. As Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Women are crazy and men are stupid.” I’m really glad that woman was not in my compost, looking at me over her shoulder, that’s for sure.