Yet again, I am emotionally involved with someone new. This time the “someone” is of indeterminate gender. I call him Oscar but for all I know it could be Oscarina; no matter. It is important only that the two of us are in love. All it took was a couple of pounds of sunflower seeds.
Chippies are notoriously easy to tame. They would say the same of us. Oscar now sits on my lap while he stuffs his cheeks before bounding off to his underground kingdom. He and his kind are the busy ants who store food rather than stuffing their stomachs. I should be so smart. This winter Jon and I watched a terrific show about chipmunks on Netflix; I didn’t know that they might actually rob another’s stash, a move that could mean death to the aggrieved party (who will hibernate like a squirrel but who counts on Dagwood sandwiches now and then during the winter, as opposed to the adipose waddle squirrels model in late autumn). I was horrified and had to leave the room but Jon assured me that justice triumphed.
Slim and sensible, Oscar permits me to massage his little boney back and hips while he shovels in the seeds. His burrow must be deep because his wee toes are frigid whenever he returns from his 90 second round trip. He probably doesn’t like being stroked but may figure it’s the price he’s prepared to pay for dinner and a movie. I heard him mumbling "Don't rock the boat" this morning. I have a feeling, though, that he’s cheating on me. When we met at the mailbox I greeted him familiarly. He had a mouthful of something and pretended we had never met.
Oscar has another failing: he is a complete mess around snakes. A luckless garter snake has been convalescing beside the garage from what looks like a lawnmower accident. Luckless is in terrible shape — clearly despondent and unable to hunt. I’ve been providing water and bits of ground beef but I think a call to Dr. Kevorkian is in order. (S)he is the most pathetic snake I have ever met, if you don’t count the ones we found on Galiano Island who had the misfortune to be run over by a cycling party. But try to tell that to Oscar. He spent most of yesterday afternoon barking from the back porch and has taken to mapping out elaborate detours to avoid someone he clearly hates and fears. Who knew?
It’s a jungle out here. But Oscar(ina) and I have each other's backs. At least, I have his.