While traversing UCSB at night, one can easily find our unofficial mascots skulking around the school. The mapache — or in English, the “raccoon” — prowls at midnight. They rummage for sustenance through landfills, loiter in the bushes, and look pretty friendly overall. After coming to a consensus that the raccoons appear non-threatening, Gaucho Marks decided to extend our newsreach to the raccoon cause for equality’s sake. We hoped to change the public image of these creatures, who are mainly seen as nuisances around campus, by allowing them to voice their own narrative. Sadly, the interview did not go as expected.
Voted as the weakest and most dispensable of writers in the Gaucho Marks newsroom, I Tier Schriftsteller, was chosen as raccoon correspondent. I met with a raccoon who, in an effort to retain anonymity, will be referred to as CHARLES. I first encountered CHARLES in the trash cans (mountainside) near Storke Tower. He was accompanied by what looked to be his wife and two children. He struck me as a family man. I approached the group wielding a half-eaten Clif bar as an olive branch. Though hesitant at first, CHARLES eventually snatched the bar from my hands with his quick claws and divided it between his family equally. “How noble,” I thought, and told him there would be more where that came from if he agreed to do an interview with me tomorrow night. He agreed, and I met him the next night at The Arbor That’s where it all took a turn.
We sat down to talk, and I complimented him on his silk black tie, which texturally complemented his fur and made the black rims around his eyes pop. He thanked me and I asked him about the most topical questions of today.
“Who is your favorite among the Democratic presidential candidates?” I said.
“None,” he said, “I think they are all doomed to fail, and I’ll be laughing when they do.”
“What do you think of climate change?” I asked.
He replied, “I hope it happens, I think we need a change of pace.”
I clarified I was talking about the environment, he said he knew. I questioned him about the recent UCSC graduate student strikes, and reciprocal strikes in solidarity. He told me that although he believed in the defiance of authority, he saw the strikes as a useless parade propagating the illusion of self-empowerment. He then began a long speech on the elements of revolution that I’ve decided to cut.
I told CHARLES that most of the interview would never make it to publication yet he remained calm, as if expecting my reaction. I expressed that I had no clue raccoons were so opinionated. He said that his opinion is often left in the wind. I began to feel bad for this raccoon. His dejection mirrored my own situation in the replaceable tier of the Gaucho Marks newsroom. I wanted to make this CHARLES feel better. In an effort to diffuse the tension I asked him what kind of casual things he enjoys. CHARLES said he was enjoying the interview, which momentarily made me really excited. I truly believed there was still a chance for us to connect. Until he followed the statement with:
“I’m a raccoon. I love garbage.”