The other day I was driving down a quiet neighbourhood street and a grey squirrel ran out in front of the van at the last moment.
I slammed on the brakes and managed to stop with about six feet to spare, but the squirrel was totally freaked out. He froze in an upright position, not moving at all, as if he could magically make himself invisible.
I wasn’t in any kind of rush, so I sat there too. I figured he’d eventually settle down after a few moments and run off, and I was afraid to try to pull around him because I envisioned that being the exact moment he pulled his crap together and moved, and then we’d meet up in a very unhappy manner.
So I waited, and he froze, and this went on for at least three or four minutes. I started to wonder if he was having a stroke or something.
Then, a black squirrel hopped out on the side of the road where the grey squirrel had been heading. He looked both ways (good boy!), determined there was no danger, then hopped merrily across the road, darting past the grey squirrel as if he really were invisible.
Oh, the poor grey squirrel. He snapped his head around, watching the black squirrel skip past, but continued to sit there in the middle of the road. The look on his face – one of complete confusion – was so funny. HOW did that black squirrel make it? Did he have super powers? Can he run at lightning speed?
Grey Squirrel just could not process the remarkable powers of Black Squirrel.
I took this as some kind of sign, and gently eased the van past Grey Squirrel, who was still sitting there frozen, with his head turned almost all the way backwards, seeking answers. For all I know, he sits there still.
It’s hard not to notice that I’m quite a Grey Squirrel myself. Frozen in place with indecision or fear, unable to move forward, even when I see progress coming easily to others.
Be the Black Squirrel, I thought to myself as I drove away. Some things that look like safety are really more dangerous than just moving forward and seeing what happens.
(Is it illegal to keep a pet squirrel? Because I feel like if I see Grey Squirrel again, I may have to adopt him, poor guy.)