Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Even Our Damn Squirrels Are Friendly

The big guy shrieked and jumped back crashing into me and dropped his soft pretzel. “Good gawd almighty that’s going to leave a mark.” I hissed as I patted my chest. He’d been startled by a couple of black squirrels running up to him. “I am so sorry. Are you okay?” he asked with a hint of an accent not native to New York. I waved him off and limped towards one of the benches with him stepping on my shadow.

I slid my foot out of my flip flop and rubbed at the skid mark his sneakers had left on the top of my foot and looked up at him. “Are you okay?” he asked again. “Yeah I’m fine. How about you, your heart returned from that trip it took to your butt yet? How are you doing?” I asked. He chuckled and seemed surprised that I was being civil. Being the genius that I am I quickly deduced that he was a tourist by his accent, the camera slung around his neck, and the tour bus parked in front of us. I figured he was part of the tourista crew that was scattered around the park’s benches munching on the food supplied from the street car vendors lined up on the block.

“I’m okay," he said, “I’ve never seen squirrels actually run at people, where I’m from they usually run away from people not towards them.” “Well you see these aren’t ordinary squirrels, these are Bronx squirrels. They’ve got a little bit of an attitude problem.” “Really?” “Oh yeah man don’t let their size fool you, they’ve got some deep seated anger issues. Those suckers will throw little fistfuls of nuts and twigs up at you in a minute. The ASPCA tried calling in some animal shrinks to talk it out with them but the little suckers refuse to lie prone on the benches.” He stared at me for a second before he realized I was joking and barked out a laugh.

He held out his hand, “My name’s Brian. I’m from Aberdeen…uh Scotland.” I took his hand and gave it a hearty shake, “Mia from The Bronx, New York and I’m really sorry you just got your pretzel jacked by a squirrel.” He ran his hand over the back of his neck and blushed probably embarrassed by his girly scream I thought. Who knew a guy could yell like that without being kicked in the cojones?

“Actually Brian the squirrels in this particular area are so used to being fed by people that they have no fear of humans. As you saw they run right up to you as soon as you come into the park.” He nodded his head and started taking pictures slowly moving around the squirrels. “I thought they were going to attack me.” I nodded my head. “A lot of that being reported in the Glasgow Daily Brian? You know bad ass squirrels running up and attacking innocent tourists in New York? “ No” he laughed, “not at all.” Hmm I see.” “Mia you have a lovely accent by the way.” I laughed and shot back “Brian my friend I’m not the one with the accent here.” He studied the squirrels that were busy tearing up his pretzel. “They’re black.” “Yes, yes they are.” “I’ve never seen a black squirrel in New York before.” “We like to trot them out to impress the tourists Brian. Actually I’d never seen one either until I moved to The Bronx.” I replied.

“Hey if you really want some fantastic pictures go up that path there stay to your right and after a block or so you’re going to see a stream and a little further up there is a beautiful water fall. You’ll see some non violent wild life as well. ” He narrowed his eyes at me looking at me as if I had just tried to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge. “ Brian I am not lying we have some lovely sights up here in the Bronx. It’s not just criminally minded black squirrels and Big Pun murals you know.” He laughed. “This is Pelham Bay Park the largest park in New York City.” “Bigger than Central Park?” he asked. “Pffttt Central Park’s 843 acres is puny compared to Pelham’s 2,700 acres.” He seemed surprised by that in fact the Bronx surprised him period he expected to see the burnt out gang infested crime riddled Bronx of the movies. I shrugged my shoulders and informed him that it was Hollywood stereotyping.

We chatted for a few minutes more and I suggested some non-tourist places easy on the pocket for him and his merry band of touristas to check out. He wrote them all down in his pad and seemed impressed with all the information I was giving him. Finally when it was time for me to leave he took my hand again and said, “You know people have this impression of New Yorkers being so cold and unfriendly but I’m finding that not to be true at all.” “Brian New Yorkers have a reputation to protect but now you know our secret... even our damn squirrels are friendly.”


Posted by @ 10:05 PM
4 comment from: Blogger Ritardo "Gar the Conqueror", Blogger christina/ohio, Blogger Mica, Blogger Mia,