The Curse of the Skunk

Ever since I moved into my current apartment, I’ve been plagued by skunks.

y previous apartment backed onto a wooded space. We had the occasional skunk spray nearby, but nothing compared to the number of times I’ve had to close my windows against skunk stink at my current place despite it being in a less wild neighborhood. Not to mention that when skunks were trapped underneath my neighbor’s place earlier this year they sprayed and the stench went straight into my HVAC system and spewed out into my bedroom.

Waking up to the throat clogging stink of skunk is an experience I’d rather not repeat.

Yet despite those skunks being trapped and transported away, we continue to have issues. The culmination of the skunk curse came last weekend when I heard strange sounds and tracked them to my furnace closet. There, visible through the grate into the crawl space, was a skunk.

Fortunately, it didn’t spray. But this happened on the weekend, when both the county’s vector control and private pest control offices were closed. So I spent several days waiting for the skunk to get scared and spray.

For once, luck was with me. The skunk was no longer in the same spot when the pest control guy came out. My landlord has sprayed the area three times with ammonia, which is supposed to be a repellant.

For now, we think the skunk is no longer under my unit. Since there was no visible point of entry along my foundation, the assumption is that the skunk came in through the foundation wall shared with my neighbor. Now it’s on him to find and patch any holes.

Is that the end of the curse? No. A skunk sprayed somewhere in the area this morning, causing me to once again rush around closing my windows. But at least the smell stopped being noticeable once the windows were closed, so it wasn’t coming from underneath my unit.

Being a writer who’s used to looking up the meanings of things, I decided to search for any symbolism to the skunk. It turns out that the skunk is supposed to be a reminder to be independent and true to yourself. It’s supposed to boost your self-confidence.

I can’t say that resonates with me. Dealing with the continual skunk problem is just the latest in a series of less-than-fortunate events that make me feel as if I’ll never escape my run of bad luck. Yes, I stepped up and did what was necessary by contacting my landlord and taking time off work to let him and the pest control guy into my unit. But in the grand scheme of things, this situation hasn’t proved anything I didn’t already know about myself.

The one piece of symbolism that did resonate with me was that a skunk might show up when you’re having trouble dealing with annoying people in your life. Oh, yeah. I definitely have a couple of people at work who annoy the heck out of me. Unfortunately, I can’t spray like the skunk and force them to go away.

The conclusion? I’m not going to start calling the skunk my spirit animal. To me, it’s still an annoying pest.

How about you? What pests do you have to deal with where you are?