Fresh Guys

The squirrels were in the middle of an asphalt parking lot in the little Yuppie hood where I do my favorite hill sprint. At first I thought it was an alfresco romance in progress, then remarked that the one on the bottom was so little that this was either child molestation or a mother squirrel holding down her young for grooming. In true Dennis the Menace style, Junior wasn’t that eager to be groomed, and when I paused to watch this little vignette, scrambled away from Mom in the first direction that presented itself, which was toward my shoe. He leaned his forequarters against it meditatively.

Squirrels in this hood are complacent — lots of trees, few cars — and I’ve seen them on people’s shoe toes before, but never without the incentive of peanuts or birdseed. I stood stockstill; he was completely adorable. Mama approached. As surely as if she had been wielding a washcloth, Junior said “Nooooo!” and launched himself at… my other trouser leg, scrambling up the inside seam to thigh height.

Feature me standing in a parking lot on one foot, shaking the other leg like someone in a music video, shouting “Hey! Hey! Hey! Wait just a goshdarn minute!”

Junior rappelled off my leg to the nearest patch of grass. Suddenly Mom seemed kind of reassuring, and they skittered off together to examine a real tree, instead of one that jumped around and made loud sounds.

I looked up to see a guy doubled over in the doorway of  his town house, laughing helplessly. Glad I could brighten someone’s morning.

I suppose it’s good that my basic instinct is to shake agitated wild animals off me. You do get rabies around here. But I’m kind of sorry I didn’t let him keep climbing.


10 thoughts on “Fresh Guys

  1. A squirrel that young would be an unlikely rabies carrier I think… and awwww, how sweet to have him latch onto your trousers like that.

    It was great seeing squirrels again when I went to London.

  2. A friend remarked on hearing this story that squirrels were practically rats but that “bushy tails and blunt noses were the best PR in nature.”

    I think there’s something else to it though — it’s that breathless, ADHD quality they emanate as they zigzag across the landscape. You could see the little bugger saying “OMG! I’m on a TROUSER LEG! Wheeeee!

  3. I love squirrels. Beatrix Potter and all those anthropomorphising children’s characters are probably to blame. I still wouldn’t be at all surprised to see one sporting a natty little waistcoat.

    But yeah, climbing up the inside of my leg? That would freak me out to leg-shaking weirditry, no question.

  4. I have very mixed feelings about squirrels, as they are destructive and apparently have a bottomless appetite for bird seed. However, we have managed to exclude them from our bird feeders, and their antics as they chase each other around are really quite fun.

    But they ARE rodents, officially classified as such. Many people around here call them “tree rats”. They are also considered a food source in the Ozarks, only fair that some of those squirrels who have waxed fat on sun flower seeds go into a cooking pot somewhere.

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