Monday, April 28, 2008

Squirrels

(Just some random thoughts about squirrels.)

Do you have squirrels in your community?

We've got 'em in droves here in Boise.

Squirrels. The Hells Angels of the animal kingdom. Their motto: "Live fast, die young, and leave a furry patch on the roadway."

In an urban environment, squirrels don't have many predators. So I s'pose we should be grateful for automobiles - without traffic, mashing our furry friends into the pavement, our community might be overrun with 'em. I saw one get missed by mere inches, just this morning on my way to the office. 9 or 10 months of the year, their carcasses litter the roadways.

Some folks see 'em as tree-rats with furry tails. And in reality, that's probably pretty close. But the thing I like about squirrels is... they always seem to be trying to have fun. Rats - at least the non-domesticated type - don't seem nearly so recreation-oriented as squirrels. Or as curious.

When I was riding the bus for a month or so, I struck up an acquaintance with a squirrel near the bus stop.

Almost every morning, he'd come tightrope-walking along the power line that went directly overhead. I'd talk to him, or whistle, and he'd usually stop directly overhead and look straight down at me. A couple days ago, right at the base of the nearest power pole, I saw a squirrel mashed on the road. I fear the worst.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee - from Arkansas - generated quite a bit of attention when he described how, as a poor college student, he used to cook squirrels in a popcorn popper. I guess Arkansas folks are just more resourceful than Idaho folks.

I've never run over a squirrel on my bicycle. (I did run over a cat once.) I've had numerous close calls with squirrels over the years. My philosophy is to brace myself for a collision, because it's silly to try to outmaneuver them. You never know which direction they'll be going next. Once a squirrel fell out of a tree, directly into my path... he was fighting with another squirrel and lost his hold. I was able to brake and avoid him. He sat there, stunned, for a second or two, then got his bearings and ran off.

"Squirrely" bike riding - mostly by kids but sometimes by adults - is very hazardous. You've seen it... when they're riding nonchalantly along, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings, and changing direction without any rhyme or reason. (Squirrely is the PERFECT definition for that mode of bicycling.) Thank goodness the kids don't get hit so often... and when they do, somebody usually drags 'em off the road instead of letting 'em slowly meld into the blacktop.

3 comments:

danielo said...

Synchronicity!

Yehuda Moon and the squirrel

Bikeboy said...

That is too weird! (In case you think I was inspired by Yehuda, I did NOT look at it before your link.)

Clancy said...

I have read his comic many times and they conicide with something I read or experienced.