It all started with peanuts.
I don’t like them. I never have. My father nonetheless sent me toffee-covered peanuts in a care package. Thanks, Dad.
When I first announced that I was planning on using these unwanted legumes to persuade an on-campus squirrel to do an interview for the Quest’s “Dog/Cat/Animal of the Week” column, I got multiple requests to interview the “angry nut-flingers” outside of the Aspen dorm. Maybe they’re not angry, just misunderstood.
So I made the unfamiliar early-morning hike to the drug-free part of campus. People were up, about, and awake — I swear, these drug-free Reedies are unstoppable and are going to outlive us all. Just as expected, there was a steady cascade of nuts falling down outside of Aspen.
I first tried to hail this infamous rodent with the peanuts. To my dismay, the rustling of branches moved away from my offerings. When I stopped trying to fling small projectiles at this unwitting rodent, and just tried to snap a photo instead, she stopped running away. I took a photo and stared in half-sober awe at this amazing creature eating breakfast. Her hands were unmistakably human. She eats breakfast. I eat breakfast. She doesn’t like peanuts. I don’t like peanuts. I was feeling an immense kinship with this creature, watching her eat, when I realized why it seemed like she was throwing nuts down — passerby were just being pelted with the scraps that fell down from her walnuts. She was just a messy eater.
So, next time you walk outside of the drug-free dorms, don’t be afraid of the squirrel who stands guard. She’s just like you or me. She’s not angry, she just doesn’t have any table manners.