Don’t Be Judgmental

In the first installment of our new monthly feature, Posts by Guest Speakers, my son-in-law, Matt Hunt, wrote this piece a few weeks ago. I thought it was perfect way to start this new column.

Matt is a pilot in the U.S. Coast Guard and lives with his family in Sacramento, CA.

Matt Hunt, and his plane at the Coast Guard station in Sacramento, CA

It’s the season for giving, so I humbly ask that grace and forgiveness be given to me. 

To the residents who live East of the Northpark Drive and Opal Drive intersection along the small creek/ravine, please accept my sincere apologies. On many day or night runs I admittedly judged you for what seemed to me unreasonable or irresponsible consumption of what smelled like a Purple Kush. It was wrong of me to do so for several reasons.

Two weeks ago, I decided to sneak in a before-dinner night run along one of my favorite routes. I was up to an 8-9 minute per mile pace on the sidewalk when this little dog ran out of the bushes and froze in its tracks in front of me. I thought this poor little dog was lost and needed my help. So I reached down and quickly realized it wasn’t a dog, and he/she did not want my help. (Mind you the next part of this story takes less than two seconds to unfold.) 

In the darkness, I could make out some white fur and snarling teeth, and I immediately thought this possum I’m face-to-face with is about to tear me up. In my haste I quickly moved left, but the critter moved right. Then I moved right, but he/she moved left. We’ve apparently reached an impasse. As the animal did an about face,  I heard a distinct sound I will never forget – “pffffffffffffff.” 

I felt the spray starting at my feet, up my left leg, side, arm and face. I then I realized I had been sprayed at point-blank range by what could only be a North American skunk!!!

“Pfffffffffff!” said the skunk

I started sprinting away and cursed loudly as I ran past a gentleman on the corner. He asked me if I was okay and all I could get out was, “Don’t go that way – skunk!”. As I continued past him, he said “Wow, that smells really bad!”

The worst part was that I still had two miles to run before reaching home. With every stride, I felt the spray seep in to every pore and singe my nose hairs.

When I finally got home, I told our daughter to put Nanna in her bedroom, start the shower and search the pantry for anything with a tomato base. I got naked on the front porch and sprinted up the stairs and scrubbed myself for a better part of 30 minutes.

All said, I was able to wash off the worst of it that night, but I carried a slight odor for the next two days. The only casualties were my trusted running shoes and a silicone iPhone case.

To my neighbors at the intersection, I again apologize for being judgmental and for the aftermath of my incident. I ran past the scene the very next day and had to cross the street to evade the pungent smell. Y’all are true saints for sharing your extended backyard with our friends, the Mephitidae.

As we continue to encroach on nature, I have to remind myself that they were here first and their presence is a blessing!

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