For a suburb of a major city, my section of Arlington can be a little sleepy sometimes. Occasionally a helicopter will hover over my neighborhood for a while; there are frequent sirens that break the reverie of my periods of intense work; I suspect that my neighbor has one of his two bedrooms devoted to growing pot. But generally, with my nose in a monitor, I have little to observe when I’m not headed into the city to hang out with Alison.
That was, until I was puttering on tasks this evening and a couple of squirrels decided to get busy on my balcony.
I’ll admit right off, I’m not a big fan of squirrels — I’ve always referred to them as rats with bushy tails. They’re omniprescent, unhygenic little beggars. My condo complex has trash pickup three days a week, with residents required to put bags out between 0600 and 0900 but the guys don’t come to pick up until noon sometimes. Considering the general critter infestation, it’s not surprising that a good number of those bags are ripped open and trash strewn across our nicely manicured common areas.
One thing I will give squirrels, however, is that they aren’t generally loud creatures. You hear a little squeaking sometimes, and when they’re alarmed, they make that weird chucking noise from deep in their throats. What you don’t expect is a whooping, chittering, squealing sound like a hog caught in a bear trap. As it turns out, it seems these are the sounds squirrels make when they’re getting down.
I was minding my own business when Squirrel Hero and Squirrel Heroine descended onto my balcony and Hero proceeded to knock the bottom out of Heroine. My place was honeymoon central. They were doing the squirrel twirl. Making the rodent with two backs. Sciuridae, in flagrante. He was giving her the hot acorn injection. Squeak and Chirp went up the hill, each with a buck and a quarter; Chirp came down with two-fifty.
I made what I thought was an innocuous comment on Facebook, to the effect that, “they’re making noises I’ve never heard from squirrels before – at least one of them must be really good at it, and you have to respect that.” That prompted responses: an endorsement of my respect for their enthusiasm; a fun reference to Groundhog Day; some one-upsmanship from someone who has seen and heard everything under the sun; a misguided interpretation that making strange noises mid-coitus means you’re doing it really well; and a desperate request that I stop making these observations. Clearly I haven’t heeded that last. I guess when it comes down to it, you just have to be glad when anyone gets a little.