Call of the tired

Heh. So the strike’s over, and all is rather conspicuously sweetness and light amongst the red-coated rank-n-file. I was actually told ‘Have a nice evening!’ as I entered the subway homebound tonight. I do feel rather bad about ranting against them en bloc…then again, their first action wasn’t to boot their boneheaded leadership, or anything.
Besides, PMS last week has been replaced by the inevitable this week, so I’m in no mood to pat anybody on the head, uh, period. (‘Cepting maybe whoever designed that sweet Anne Klein deco-print silk blouse…but that’s another story altogether.)

Meanwhile…well, meanwhile not a whole lot, actually. Spent most of the weekend outdoors and on my feet, in search of a book from the U of T library. I walked down first on Saturday afternoon, you see, but apparently the civilian population is only allowed to request retrieval from the stacks into the common areas, and the last trip up was…”That would’ve been about fifteen minutes ago.” This spoken in that particular tone of voice only reference librarians use; the tone of people who have learned to refuse university students without raising their voice. I have often wondered what would happen were one to persist with them, but have not anywhere near the courage required to become the test case.

So away I went and back I marched the next day. Clocked about, oh, twenty-five or thirty klicks round-trip. Plus, got to be rather chuffed when I was asked if I was perchance visiting faculty. I realise this is a routine inquiry, pursuant to issuing temporary passes…however, while standing there in my jeans and COWS tank (the brown one with ‘moo.‘ written across it), iPod ‘phones carelessly looped over my neck, it was a pleasant daydream nonetheless. Every now and then us wholesome types like to be reminded we might possibly, in some remote alternate universe, be considered cool.

Symbolism aside, this was also a good start for Shoemom’s new fitness program, which basically involves following me around on my urban hikes a lot and making snotty comments about ‘I know, I’ve driven down this street a million times!’ whenever I try to impart some facet of walking wisdom. You would think she might kindly leave me to the only bits of real Lore I’m ever liable to be able to pass on in this life, but noooooooo. Although, after the beaver incident, I must admit, she’s been a lot more receptive –

What? Oh, didn’t I mention the beaver? Right, the kind on the nickel, teeth and tail and everything. There we were, strolling down a quiet neighborhood street at twilight, when the need to impart hit me offhand. “The nice thing about walking in the heart of city like this,” I explained dreamily, “is that you never know what’s going to happen when you turn the next corner. We could have all kinds of adventures…”

Cue corner. Cue also a random posse of people bearing down on us ve-e-e-e-e-ry slowly. As I blinked, I realised they weren’t, actually, heading towards us; they seemed to be concentrating off into the middle distance. With the help of flashlights. At this point I recall informing the universe rather testily that when I said ‘adventure’, I did not mean ‘re-enactment of key scenes from Night of the Living Dead.’
Shoemom, being a more practical sort, followed the sightline to the source…and a second later, our startled shouts were confirmed by several of the flashlit types, now also waving cellphones and asking one another for the Humane Society’s number.

A fat and furry beaver was rolling placidly down a quiet neighborhood street in the heart of the city – check that, a sidewalk. Seriously. That was the freaky thing; it looked neither to the right nor left, just stuck to the dead centre of that pavement, turning when it turned, clearly under the impression he had found the Yellow Brick road that led Home. The whole scene actually did look like nothing so much as CGI F/X from the latest cute-critter-lost-in-the-urban-jungle kiddie flick.
Seeing as how ‘home’ – not to say any viable source of water except maybe the birdbath on the lawn opposite – was in fact probably one of the local ravines a few klicks away, this was kind of unlikely…but hey, have you ever tried to argue with a beaver? They are not, as it turns out, all that cute. They are big and stolid and expressionless. Their overall distinguishing characteristic is a sense of grim purpose, not unlike a reference librarian expecting a challenge. (No, I have no idea what convinced this particular specimen to get adventurous, unless the whole ‘refusal to ask for directions’ trope is multispecies. Or maybe when you’re a beaver, all the trees look greener on the other side.)

Anyhoo, when we left, a couple connexions had been made to Animal Services, so we have every reason to believe he eventually made it back to the dam. We were left with hearts swelling with wonder and gratitude at having been able to participate, however fleetingly, in the vast and wondrous collection of uniquely memorable and moving experiences that is Nature…ie., we knew we’d just struck the cocktail-chatter jackpot for, like, months.

…The, um, next time I needed a column idea, for instance. Look, I get my tax refund next week, I’ve got the camera all picked out, things are bound to pick up, OK?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anonymous
    May 01, 2008 @ 22:54:11

    You didn’t like the beaver hmm? Destructive critters that they are. Though I don’t imagine he found much to chew on right where he was.


  2. shoebox2
    May 03, 2008 @ 23:05:43

    I dunno. They move cute – kind of a rolling waddle – but they definitely don’t look cuddly.

    Round where we live, he actually probably could’ve constructed a pretty sturdy dam. Of course, all he’d be damming would be possibly the flow of traffic off of Eglinton, but still…

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