I drove past the dead body this morning, with equal parts apprehension and disgust; the apprehension because I worried I might graze it with one of my wheels, and the disgust because of what it was. Now I’m not generally queasy when it comes to gross things. I did help birth a few cows, after all. But sometimes the nature of the thing itself overpowers my common sense and experience. With one eye on the carcass and the other on the road I drove stealthily past and breathed a sigh of relief… until about two minutes later when I crossed paths with another one. Welcome to skunk season.
It usually lasts from mid-May until late October, unless the ground frosts early, and I find myself driving a little bit slower to hopefully avoid the carnage. Nothing says “avoid me” like the smell of fresh skunk on the tires, I assure you. I have an acquaintance who hit one once, and she said it was impossible to get the smell out of her car. Eventually, of course, she became immune to it, but whenever anyone else rode with her anywhere they twisted up their noses and asked what happened. Needless to say they did not get a second ride. Some didn’t even make it through the first one.
Skunk season means that early in the morning, before the glow of a bright new sun rising, they’re damn near invisible. One was sitting right in the middle of my driveway one morning and I didn’t even see it until I was right up on it. Luckily it didn’t sense in me any threat or I would have been coated with the vile spray, and I would probably still be gagging now. Instead I turned on my heel and retreated back into the house, hissing at it through the screen to please move because I needed to get to work.
During one particularly hot day in skunk season one year I was walking down the sidewalk and a skunk was ambling toward me from the opposite direction. It was early in the afternoon, and I had never seen a live skunk by that kind of light before, so at first I just stood there in shock. Eventually, when I realized he was still walking in my direction, I crossed to the opposite side of the street. That’s when I knew for certain that I was an anti-Skunkite. I didn’t want to be, but when faced with a skunk I would rather turn tail and run.
So now I just hope each year that I can keep up the streak of not hitting one. But I keep seeing skunk roadkill along my routes so I know that it’s only a matter of time. I just pray that by then I’ll be ready for a new vehicle anyway, because I sure as hell am not driving that one anymore. I imagine I will screech to a stop, pull my shirt over my nose and mouth, and run full force into whatever field is nearby, leaving the car to fend for itself. It’s the absolute least I can do.
In skunk season.