LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
Nuts! Beware of squirrels
I’m going to go ahead and call it: It’s going to be a long, cold winter.
I’m not basing this brash prediction on my intensive study of NexRad Radar or my knowledge of El Niño or La Niña or even my slavish devotion to The Weather Channel. No, I’m calling for a brutal winter because … the squirrels told me so.
OK, they didn’t really tell me. I’ll admit I talk from time to time to the furry tree rats, but they never actually talk back. Well, there was that one time, but I was in college and, um, experimenting, and it wasn’t so much a squirrel that talked to me as my roommate who just so happened to look like a giant squirrel at the time … but I digress.
The squirrels have spoken not through their plaintive barks and cries but through their actions. The furry beasties are thick this fall and as busy as their aquatic, tree-munching cousins.
I can’t swing a dead acorn without nearly hitting a squirrel these days. I know it’s prime time to stock up for winter, but, man, there are rodents everywhere.
They run across the road in front of me. They run BETWEEN my tires. They run alongside me, their little squirrelly claws scraping the blacktop.
And here’s the thing: Nail one in a car, and it makes a satisfying thud; nail one with a skinny bike tire, and YOU make a satisfying thud (and like the commercial a few years ago, I’m sure the rest of the squirrel clan chatters and high-fives in celebration as you scrape yourself off the pavement).
It dawned on me, though, that I’m basing my weather prediction on what has to be one of the stupidest creatures on the planet.
The other day, I was riding along, and a squirrel bolted in front of me. He sprinted ahead, looking over his furry shoulder as I slowed, expecting him to cut left or right at any minute to escape to the relative safety of, oh, I don’t know, a nearby tree, where he’d have a huge natural advantage. Instead, the mental midget kept running straight ahead, like the cartoon character trying to run away from a falling tree. I finally stopped to give the little fella an easy out before he collapsed.
Then a few days later, I approached an intersection where a squirrel was dig-dig-digging close to the curb. He saw me approach, dug some more, looked up, dug … look, dig, look, dig. At the last minute, he bolted — and ran, with a clang, headfirst into a street sign. (As an aside, I don’t know what kind of bling he was wearing to create a clang; I’d think a clunk or chunk or even thump more appropriate, but clang?) That had to hurt.
I swear it’s not just me. My father thinks squirrels are out to get him, but this nut has fallen far from that tree. I don’t think squirrels bear me any ill-will.
I am, however, haunted by one.
On my regular ride to work, there is a dead squirrel lying, face up, in the gutter. There is no apparent sign of foul play. I reckon squirrels occasionally die of natural causes and just … fall … into the street. It seems that’s what happened to this little fella.
For nearly a week, he has languished there, unmolested, his eyes accusingly wide-open and his little squirrelly claws clinched into little squirrelly fists, as if beseeching the heavens (or at least the Goodyear that did him in).
The other day, as I rolled by, I slowed down to give the little cadaver a closer look.
I swear the little bugger was giving me the bird.