Watching Me

Squirrel Most days, as I sit in the garden behind the bakery where I work, I am subject to a certain intense scrutiny. Not from the surrounding businesses, or from my vehemently anti-smoking coworkers, though. See... at work, we have squirrels. Not regular squirrels, mind you. These squirrels border on the surreal. Downtown Lawrence squirrels are so domesticated that they’re nearly human.

It is worth serious discomfort that I meet the gaze of the bakery squirrels. These are healthy squirrels, raised on a steady diet of bread free from oils, dairy, and preservatives. And, being as how they don’t have to scavenge for food like your regular forest squirrels, it seems that they’ve chosen to devote their extra free time to intellectual pursuits.

I have gotten to the point now that I check my truck on all sides before I leave for home. I live in perpetual fear of looking underneath my vehicle and discovering one of them holding a tiny hacksaw and cutting through my brakeline.

I imagine that the little tamperer’s response to discovery would simply be to try and conceal the saw behind its back, and whistle nonchalantly as it sidled away. I know- yes, squirrels can’t whistle. These probably could figure out a way past that “no lips” thing, though.

It’s not that I’m being paranoid, here. The Great Harvest squirrels watch you. You’ll easily notice the one in front of you. But it’s only by paying great attention to your peripheral vision that you discover the two flanking you- the ones you never even knew were there.

The watching makes me horrendously nervous. The squirrels watch my every action. They even watch as I d rive off. I think they’ve either put a transmitter somewhere on the pickup, or the damnable little rodents just know where I live. Oh me, oh my- there’s a disturbing thought. Really, though, you never know. I could be standing on my balcony, watching cars drive by,  and then, next thing you know- BAM! I’ve been hit in the head with a barrage of acorns in a tragic drive by nutting.

Or worse, as I lay in bed one night, I’ll be awakened by a chorus of high-pitched giggles in my stairwell. Of course, I’d see nothing when I looked out the peephole. However, as I stand there, I would imagine that on the other side of t he door, I’d be able to hear a pair of minuscule hands skillfully working a lockpick. It’s thoughts like these that  keep me awake nights, clutching a baseball bat and quietly talking to myself.