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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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For the birds

A few months ago, I had sightings of celebrities in Los Angeles. Pooh pooh all you want--until you’ve been >this< close to Kevin Spacey (so close you could hear him breathing,) you will not know how genuinely exciting it is to be near an old fashioned movie star.

Try not to be so jaded, people.

A few years before that, I saw Catherine Deneuve walking down my Parisian street, and years and years before that, Cary Grant strolling rue de Passy, looking dapper and distinguished.

Now my sightings are of birds. Birds! And by “birds” I don’t mean “chicks” or “girls” à la supercool Michael Caine in “Alfie.” I mean actual birds!

What does that say about the level of glamour and chic in my life? No, no. Don’t answer. It’s too painful. It will make me want to retreat into my uselessly David Hicks-meets-Charles Eames-inspired Connecticut hole!

In addition to studying birds, I am now conducting a formal squirrel watch. A brown squirrel has discovered how to climb up the drain pipe on the side of our building to get at the seed that covers our balcony. We live 3 flights up, so that’s some impressive scaling.

The first few times I saw Mr Squirrel, I was delighted (a rodent Kevin Spacey!) He would sit in Classic Squirrel Stance, crunching on seed, holding shells in his little paws—it was adorable.

Then the other day, he realized where the seed was coming from. He looked up at the birds on the feeder, and it was as though a miniature cartoon lightbulb had lit above his head. He had a visual.

While Mr Squirrel’s tiny gears were working on a solution to the feeder problem, Terence declared, “Uh, oh, he’s totally figured it out. He knows the seed is coming from the feeder. He’s going to jump up there.”

I was terrified. Even if Mr Squirrel managed to get up to the railing, it was a good 2 feet from the railing to the feeder. With a sheer 3 story drop to the ground below!

Clever Mr Squirrel got to the railing. He crouched down, looking at the feeder, wondering how much squirrel strength it would take to achieve his goal.

“If he doesn’t make it, it’s going to the Darwin Award of the Century!” exclaimed Terence.

I got mad. “How can you not root for the squirrel! That’s so cruel! Look at how little balcony extends below the railing! He’s not gonna make it! He’s not gonna make it!”

The squirrel sprung into action and totally missed his aim. Somehow he managed to twist his furry little frame around and landed with 3 paws on the last 2 inches of balcony. I think I heard his claws scratch at the wooden planks.

The bird feeder hadn’t budged a bit. It wasn’t even swinging. Mr Squirrel had missed it by a good 6 inches.

On the balcony railing where he’d plotted his strategy, he’d left a tiny pool of squirrel pee and two symmetrical pellets of poo.

“Check it out! He was straining so hard to get enough power in his jump, that he pooped!” yelled Terence.

I turned around to glare at him.

And guess what? Terence was sweating. Like sopping wet.

“I am totally freaked out. Look at me. Look at my hands! They’re dripping. I’m a wreck. Oh god, thank god he didn’t die,” he admitted.

I have since talked to Squirrel Expert Culotte who says that squirrels are resilient and not to fret. If Mr Squirrel falls, he will not die. He’ll pick himself up, brush the twigs and leaves from his luxurious coat, and continue on his happy way.

I’ve got to learn to do that.

First, I need to get some fur.

11:00 a.m. - 2004-09-01

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