Bears in my trash can

I continue to find fascinating and  enlightening information regarding living in Boulder.  The latest from my information packet?  How to avoid bears at your house.  Although, actually, it doesn’t tell you how to avoid them so much as inform you that they are indeed coming.  Notably, part of the suggestions, it seems to me, describes ways you might piss them off, which seems counter-productive but maybe I haven’t been properly ingratiated into the Boulder mindset just yet.  I notice that the people dispensing this information seem much more interested in the comfort and peace of mind of the bear and less in, you know, keeping me alive with all my limbs intact.

I should note, I am aware bears have been coming out with the mountain wildlife and into townships as drought conditions have become severe and they are in search of food.  I am not without sympathy.  Certainly there has been many a night my sudden desperation for a cheeseburger (though, last weekend it was a doughnut – true story) could easily result in my traveling to foreign lands, if necessary.  But still, I wouldn’t maim or kill anyone for it.  I don’t think.

– The first tip is that “you should wash out your trash cans or carts frequently with ammonia and/or soap.” They then advise that dishwashing soap works great b/c the ammonia doesn’t evaporate as rapidly.  Dear Lord, I’m not sure what we’ve gotten ourselves into since I’ll admit, this actually made me laugh out loud.  My trip to take out the trash generally involves the ‘turn your head and hold your breath while you throw it in and let the lid close’ method.  But in Boulder, if you don’t clean the trash can, you’ll get eaten by a bear.

Jo’s very anal – this seems like a great task for her.  (She was probably already aware of the ammonia evaporation rate.  Yeah, she’s sick like that).

– “Don’t put your trash out until the day of collection.”  Huh. I assume they mean, don’t wheel the can out to the curb.  Because surely they’re not implying I should let trash bags pile up near the backdoor until trash day.  Though, this begs the question, if a bear is going to get into my trash can, wouldn’t I prefer it to be out by the curb rather than, say, right around the corner from my backdoor?

– “If your dumpster has significant food waste in it and is a desirable target for bears, consider getting a locking dumpster for additional protection.”  Okay, for one thing, one of the trash cans the City gives you is for compostables, so isn’t that inherently going to have significant food waste in it???  Also, wouldn’t the lock just piss off the bear?  This is where I start to think they are just setting people up as sacrificial offerings.  I mean, when a robber tries to take your things, the police advise you be cooperative and give them whatever they want, your wallet, money, jewelry, whatever.  But apparently, when it comes to bears in Boulder, they’d rather you be uncooperative and just antagonize them – because I can’t imagine any negative consequences from pissing off a bear in my backyard.  Nope, none at all.

See, no lock.  Because I'm a giver (and I like my arms, even if they've taken on the appearance of my third grade teachers').

See, no lock. Because I’m a giver (and I like my arms, even if they’ve taken on the appearance of my third grade teachers’).

– The last sentence confirms my thinking, “A little effort will go a long way to help protect wildlife from themselves.”  Protect them from themselves – that’s the priority.  Not “to protect you from being eaten by bears.”

Little did I know just how educational the property manager’s information packet would be.  I wonder if he was thinking “ha, ha, suckers!” when he gave it to me.  The natives are probably making bets ala Shawshank Redemption of which newby will be the first to go – either by running away screaming or being eaten by the wildlife.

I suppose when it seems perfectly normal to show more concern for the conveniences of a bear than for maintaining all my limbs, I’ll know I belong.  Maybe they’ll even let me in on the betting.

Welcome to Boulder.  ; )




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