November 19, 2002

"Rhodes Versus the Rodent" c.

"Rhodes Versus the Rodent" c. Ryan Rhodes, Nov. 10, 2002

A couple of weekends ago, I was visiting my girlfriend in St. Paul and, for a brief moment, I genuinely believed my car was about to be stolen. . . by a squirrel.

I know, I know; squirrels can't steal automobiles. However, the next time you endure a traumatic rodent takeover of your vehicle, you just see how much common sense you display.

So, there I was, sitting in my car, preparing to go to a gas station. I was just about to close the driver's side door when I heard a commotion outside that involved screeching tires. I like to think that a wayward squirrel was almost run over in the street and became disoriented and stressed out. I like to think this because it makes what happened next seem a little less surreal.

Perhaps a split second before my door slammed shut, an agitated squirrel came cruising from out of nowhere, jumped into my car just as the door closed, and perched in the back seat, barking in that unique squirrel fashion that sounds like they're about to barf up something truly ugly.

I whirled around, and I found myself locking eyes with the furry intruder. We were face-to-fuzzy-face and, at that moment, I realized that I'm a really poor excuse for a swaggering male. I mustered my most girlish shriek, fumbled for the door handle, opened the door, and scrambled frantically to put distance between myself and the barking menace in the back seat.

Once I was safely outside the vehicle, I tried to take stock of the situation. "Okay," I thought. "There's a squirrel! And it's in my car! What do I do? Is this covered in the owner's manual?"

I cautiously crept up to the back window and peered in. The squirrel was on the floor of the back seat, apparently sniffing around for something to eat. "What if it finds something to eat in there?" I mused. "Will it ever leave? The door is open. Why doesn't it leave?"

As if sensing my presence, the squirrel jumped back up on the seat and started barking at me again, and I leaped back a safe distance, just in case it had some special power that allowed it to hurtle through auto glass and attach itself to my face.

It was at this point that I did something I still can't totally understand. Seeing that the squirrel was intent on barking at the back window, I seized the initiative, ran to the open driver's side door and. . . grabbed the keys out of the ignition.

It was only after I retreated back from my car that I realized the idiocy of my action. What the heck did I grab the keys for? What good were the keys possibly going to do me? Did I secretly believe that a squirrel could somehow manage to start the car and drive it away to a rodent vehicle chop shop somewhere in downtown St. Paul?

With my pride and male bravado now at all-time lows, I started taking a more analytical view of the situation. Exhibiting the first clear thinking of the ordeal, I opened the passenger side door, thus giving the tiny hijacker two avenues of escape.

However, rather than taking the hint, the squirrel opted to hop atop the passenger seat and further voice its displeasure with me, prompting me to once again run away screaming. This was just becoming too embarrassing, and I was getting mad. So, I started yelling at the squirrel.

"Get out!" I demanded, only to be rebuffed by an onslaught of raspy barks.

"Get out now!" I yelled again, this time waving my arms to augment my point. But the squirrel only scurried once again to the back seat.

I briefly searched for a long stick or a rod, something that I could shake at the squirrel to prompt it to exit the vehicle. Finding nothing of adequate length, I decided to try a different approach. I went back inside the house. I figured that, if I was out of sight, the squirrel would be more apt to leave.

As I stood in the doorway, peering out at my car, I started to feel like an absolute failure.

"That's it," I thought. "The squirrel has forced me indoors. The squirrel has won. This is truly a sad day for Ryan Rhodes."

Finally, I had had enough. I was determined to rid my car once and for all of Bullwinkle's sidekick. I threw open the door and went running toward my car, yelling expletives all the way. Apparently shaken by my renewed bravado, the squirrel scurried out the passenger door, climbed a nearby tree, and started taunting me once again with its incessant barking.

What the squirrel didn't know was that I had won the game early on. After all, I had the car keys.

Posted by Ryan at November 19, 2002 10:26 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!