Squirrel Interrupted

Scene: Mid-morning in a suburban Knoxville neighborhood.  The sun is shining.  The birds are chirping.

And I am chasing a squirrel around my backyard in my bathrobe.

It's a good thing most of the neighbors are already at work, because here I am, arms waving, crazy bed-head hair, and the folds of my fuzzy blue robe whipping around my calves as I chase a fat gray squirrel around and around the trees in the backyard.

(You know, it's a wonder they haven't had me committed yet).

Anyway.  The problem is not the squirrel itself.  (In fact, I suppose that based on the description above, most people would argue that it isn't the squirrel that has the problem at all.  And to that I stick my tongue out at all of you.)  No, I happen to like the squirrel.  He's fuzzy and cute and he scampers in a way that I enjoy watching.  The PROBLEM, I would say, is a certain destructive squirrel behavior that he insists on continuing...mainly, he enjoys knocking the bird seed out of all of my bird feeders.

And here's the worst part!  He doesn't even eat it!  I wouldn't mind if Mr. Squirrel was hungry and just needed a little snack.  But he doesn't eat any of it at all!  He just enjoys hanging from the tree branch by his back legs and shaking the bird feeder back and forth until all the seeds are in a messy little pile on the ground, where no bird (except the occasional dove) will go to eat it.  Destructive for the sake of being destructive.

It is a classic case of squirrel behaving badly.

Mr. Squirrel and I have talked previously about this kind of behavior.  When he first moved into the area, I told him flat out that he was more than welcome here, but that he needed to abide by a few yard rules...mainly, no climbing into eaves of the house to break into my attic, and no dumping the bird seed out of the feeders.  That despite it, you know, literally hanging off of tree limbs, bird seed doesn't just grow on trees.  I have to buy that stuff.

Easy enough, right?  I do not ask too much.  Just a little common squirrel courtesy.  But will he abide by the rules?  No!  He is a punk juvenile delinquent squirrel, and he's deliberately trying to vex me.  And this morning when I looked out the kitchen window while waiting for my pop-tart to do its toaster thing, there he was, doing his little upside down act of vandalism and chanting "neener! neener! neener!" in my general direction.  So I just snapped.  I snatched open the back door and flew, screaming and waving, out onto the deck where I took a running leap and cleared all of the stairs in one stride.  "You've done it now, squirrel!", I shrieked.  "You've messed up my bird feeders for the last time!"  His eyes got really big and round, and you could hear his little squirrel voice go, "Uh-oh!  This sister be crazy!"* as he took off racing towards his favorite tree.  But I am smarter than this fuzzy-tailed rat, so I had already headed him off at the pass, and he had no choice but to change course with me in hot pursuit.  This continued for a lot longer than you would imagine...especially with him being fat for a squirrel and me fueled by my righteous, righteous anger, but eventually the red haze cleared and I began to lose steam.  He managed to climb a tree to safety, and I stood at the bottom, shaking my fist and hurling a few choice squirrel insults at him before retreating back to my now-cold pop-tart.

So yes, most of the neighbors now think I'm insane.  And perhaps they've seen a little more of me than they bargained for when the flap of my robe got caught on that tree branch.  But you can bet that that squirrel will think twice before messing with me again.  There's no telling what I'll do to save a little bird seed.

*I have no idea why my squirrel talks to himself like a hip-hop gangster.  I didn't make the rules.