Everyone Wants To Be This Raccoon

How many times in a day does the strong urge to bail come over you? Ten? A million? To scoot under the guard rail of your responsibilities and just LEAVE. A hundred times? All the time? You can’t do it anymore, really. Firstly, there is nowhere left to bail to. The darkness is closing in on all sides, there are no more ice floes left to float on, the branches of the trees crumble as we try to hold onto them, etc. But. BUT. Say you could bail, still. Say you could still just exit a situation, or a bad vibe, and then look around afterwards like Yay well thank God that is over. Here I am where it’s nice, and the news is good. My friend Simon used to call this Absconding. To Abscond was to just get the hell out, to leave without saying goodbye, to deflect all attempts made to start a conversation about neo-liberalism and just go, OK, bye guys. The possibility of Absconding made everything easier. Don’t like this party? Leave! Don’t like the news? Turn it off!

Remember when we could still do that? It was not so long ago, really, that this was a possibility. I don’t mean it was only recently that we were young, and capable of ditching our responsibilities and obligations to other people as and when we felt the need. You know what I mean. Things are bad, and no one is allowed to quietly slip away anymore because things are getting worse all the time, and it is all hands on deck. Absconding is no longer possible nor permitted, and that is just how it is now.

Still though. Say you could still just bail when you felt like it. You know what you would look like when you did it? You would look like this raccoon.

Here he is, my favorite thing. The symbol of a simpler and less objectively catastrophic time. Look at him, just leaving. Here he is, with his peanut butter in his hands and his little tail. His feet are moving so fast they are blurry. What he is saying is OK, bye guys. I have had enough of whatever it is that’s going on here, and now it is time to go. He is absconding, and I love him a lot. I like how hunched over he is, how he is obviously moving forward with as much speed and force as he can muster. He reminds me of a little man in a raccoon suit. I like how he has clearly launched himself out of danger or bad times, and now he is heading for higher ground, peanut butter in hand. Look at him! His responsibilities and resentments are as nothing to him. He has made it and he is free. He is pressing the fuck on.

Other things I like:

1. His hands
2. How he looks like he is smiling
3. The smile says Fuck this I am LEAVING, but not in a mean way
4. More in a way of I am very sorry that you can’t be me
5. Feet ’n tail
6. Attitude.

This raccoon is a verb, and that verb is “to abscond.” I love him so much I once by mistake attached him to an email instead of an invoice. I like to think that my editor understood, that she received it as the gift that it is. I hope that you will receive it in the same spirit.

This raccoon is a gift, for you. We cannot abscond anymore. Circumstance and decency will no longer permit it. All we can do is have a hard and complicated time and remember what it was like when it was easier. We can use this raccoon as a visual aid in retrieving that memory. You can print him out and put him above your desk, with maybe an arrow underneath him, and that arrow is pointing towards the door, and to freedom. You can’t head in the same direction he is going. The emergency exit is no longer available to you. You have to stay here, now. That’s OK. Even if it’s not OK, that is just how it is.

Remember what it was like when you could just leave, or when the option of bailing was at least available to you? Just marching on out of the bad times with your eyes a little bit closed and your peanut butter in your hands. Recall this feeling, and when you think you have forgotten it, let this raccoon remind you. Here he is, my favorite thing. My gift to you.