it's a skunk! a skunk is about half a block ahead of us and walking toward us. i am now officially awake.
and so we very, very quickly start walking backwards (yes i literally walked backwards down the sidewalk) and the skunk turned around and walked back up someone's driveway (lucky them!). we turned down a different street and continued our walk skunk free.
let's just say the whole experience was quite a wake up call.