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August 31, 2009

So many things are going on with friends at the moment, real grown-up life things, both good and bad. Weddings. Divorces. Babies. Terminal Cancer, new jobs, unemployment. So many of us seem to be barely holding body and soul together. All of these things have been clouding my ability to write. Not enough time in my own head of late.

Last night, I had a few hours alone as Mr. Spy was meeting friends for dinner. I had planned to write, but instead ended up perusing posts from earlier this year. I was struck by two things:

1) I have written about the weather A LOT. I would like to apologize here and now for my obsession with the weather. I can’t guarantee I’ll improve, but at least I’ll think twice about it.

and

2) I haven’t written anything I’m terribly proud of in a long time. That shouldn’t be a big deal. That’s not really what the blog is for. But I’ve done better than I’ve been doing lately.

• • • • •
And now, since several of you asked, the squirrel story.

After I graduated from college, I spent a summer playing violin for a summer stock company on Cape Cod before moving to Boston where I shared an apartment in Somerville with three other fellow graduates. Two of them were friends of mine from choir. The third was a friend of a friend whom nobody knew very well. The third had a really difficult year and, as a result, was very difficult to live with. But otherwise, we had a great time. My roommate S, who was and is a real singer, was getting her masters in voice. My roomate K, who wanted to become (and now is) a social worker, was working in a group home for teenaged girls and singing in a choir at Harvard, which I joined too. I was applying to grad schools and looking for work at the same time. After being stunned by rejection letters I hadn’t been expecting, thinking my degree in English and Music from a fancy college and the desire to work would be enough, I found plenty of interesting assignments temping. My favorite job was at the Alumnae Association for R@dcliffe College, where I had a gorgeous office with a bay window overlooking the R@dcliffe quad. I loved the job and I loved my commute, which a long walk down Mass Ave each day (I could have taken the T, but I loved to walk). I did a lot of secretarial work, but when they found out what I could do, they put me to work on the quarterly, where I got to interview famous alumnae and fellows, including Margaret Atwood. They extended my contract several times until I found a permanent job as a group sales rep for a theater company. The group sales part was lousy, but I loved my coworkers and I loved taking the T to the top of Boston Common every morning and walking across the park, past Carl Fischer and into the tiny theater district. They didn’t pay me much, but I picked up a little extra house managing in the theater at night, where I got free drinks after the nightly cabaret-style show. The only person who made work less than pleasant was our boss, J. J was a really nice person — I liked her a lot outside the office. But she was one of those people who got promoted into a job she didn’t like and didn’t know what to do about it. She was an incredible saleswoman, but she hated managing people and really had no idea how to do it. She was famous for her temper tantrums and her irrational behavior.

On my lunch hour, I’d often head back to the park. One particularly gorgeous early spring day, my coworker D and I decided to take our lunches to a bench on the common where we could watch the swan boats. We found an empty bench and settled in and enjoyed our food and the people watching and the sun and a good chat. We were just about to leave when I felt something hit me on the head hard and the next thing I knew, I was lying on the sidewalk with worried people looking down at me. Most of them hadn’t seen what happened, but D had — “That squirrel! He just, FELL ON YOUR HEAD!” I started laughing because this sounded crazy. D looked like she was concerned that I was crazy and then realized how bizarre it was and started laughing too. My head ached and when I held up my hand to the side of my head, there was blood on it from where the squirrel’s claws had raked my scalp.

We walked slowly back to the office. I was still seeing double. I bit the bullet and went into my boss’ office. “J, do you have a minute?”

She appraised me as if she was trying to predict what my problem was. Then she put on her concerned and helpful boss face “Sure. Sit down.”

“Thanks. Um, I think I might need to go home. I had a little accident at lunch.”

J looked even more concerned and helpful. “What happened? Are you okay?”

“I think so, but I got hit pretty hard on the head and I can’t see straight. I think I should see a doctor.”

“Oh my goodness. Of course! What happened? Did you get the license number?”

I looked blankly at her and then realized what she thought and started laughing again.

“Oh, no. It was nothing like that. I got hit in the head with a squirrel.”

Two red patches appeared on J’s cheeks. She thought I was playing a prank on her. I could feel her getting ready to scream at me when D walked in and saved the day. “No, she really did! I was there! This squirrel fell out of the tree and landed on her head and knocked her out.” And then she added, just in case that didn’t sound serious enough, “it was really scary.”

And that is how I got a half day off on the nicest day of the year. I never called the doctor. I took the long way home past the sculptor’s house. When I got home, I poured some alcohol on my head, washed down a couple of aspirin with a glass of cheap wine, and waited until my roomates got home so I could tell them the whole story all over again.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Peppypilotgirl permalink
    August 31, 2009 7:23 pm

    I’d forgotten you’d taken my space there! But, man, I wish I’d been around to hear the squirrel story instead of slogging away at grad school!!

  2. LSM permalink
    August 31, 2009 8:05 pm

    I wonder what the odds of getting hit in the head by a squirell are!

  3. August 31, 2009 9:05 pm

    Seriously? That’s the weirdest accident story I’ve ever heard.

  4. August 31, 2009 9:22 pm

    Must be your magnetic personality.

  5. September 1, 2009 7:11 am

    Everyone should have a good story to tell. Not everyone need get hit by a squirrel, but needs to have something that stops conversations. I like it. Has it never working its way into your writing before?

  6. freshhell permalink
    September 1, 2009 7:38 am

    I’ve had squirrels pelt me with acorns before (the squirrels at the Capitol are particularly aggressive) but I’ve never had one fall on my head. They are usually more agile than that. I’m glad you didn’t end up with rabies or an infection from the scratch! Funny, though.

  7. crankygirl permalink
    September 1, 2009 8:47 am

    Funny because I had forgotten that story, but I now realize that since you first told me I have been terrified of having the same thing happen to me. I spent the Fall glaring at the squiirels scampering around the overhead branches.

  8. September 3, 2009 2:33 pm

    That is the awesome. Could not make it up.

    (Drove through your alma mater yesterday…showing child where Granny had gone to school.)

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