Yesterday I almost ran over a squirrel. I make a point to slow down when I see one close to the street and have successfully avoided any squirrel fatalities over the years. This particular squirrel had a brush with death due to his indecisive nature. He was in front of my car, darted back to the curb and abruptly changed direction as I started to accelerate again. He wouldn’t have stood a change against my large SUV so I think we were both relieved when he finally ran for his life, finally reaching the safety of the curb.
My mom ran over a squirrel when I was little and came home and cried. The only road-kill that I have been personally responsible for was a raccoon. He ran onto the dark rainy highway and I had no choice but to hit him. I had a baby in the car and couldn’t risk slamming on the brakes. It felt horrible when I drove over him but I didn’t have a choice.
I am happy that the squirrel survived. I have always liked squirrels and even have a squirrel feeder on one of my trees. They are so cute and amusing to watch as they run through the yard. I remember watching the squirrels last fall busying themselves preparing for winter. They were scurrying around hiding nuts and whatever else they eat in the yard. They would get into fights and chase each other through the trees. It looked like a lot of work to get ready for winter. I think that if I was a squirrel, I might not spend so much time on the nut-hiding deal. I would be much more interested in the nut finding aspect of the squirrel business. I would probably just try to keep track of where all the other squirrels stashed their nuts. I don’t think I would be up for any squirrel good citizenship awards but I would be a fairly efficient squirrel.
On a different, non-animal subject, I saw something bad yesterday. I saw a woman abusing a little girl. This was at a dance studio that was not here in Pleasantville. The woman was screaming and spanking a little girl that looked like she was about three. I say spanking but it was really not what you would think. It was more like hitting her butt with as much force as she could muster.
I also saw her pick the little girl up by the wrist and ankle and throw her on a couch. I was in the room with another mom that confided that she had seen the same abuse on different occasions. A while later, the little girl again ran into the same room I was in. The mother was screaming and running after her daughter. The little girl clearly wanted to play and be chased. She just seemed like she didn’t quite understand that she was being chased by an actual monster. She ran into a corner of the room and stopped laughing when she saw the hateful look on the monster’s face. She then cowered in the corner as if that would offer her some protection. As you might imagine, it didn’t help.
So imagine a dance studio filled with five and six year-old girls, all dressed up and practicing their dance moves in their recital costumes. Other parents waiting in various areas of the studio, many with their own rambunctious toddlers. Another three year old continues to climb up on a couch and bounce while his mother gently reprimands him, telling him that he isn’t making good choices. The guy that looks like a Mexican gangster was carefully placing his daughter’s long hair in a ponytail. Toddlers and babies were tickled and admired as they were passed from one lap to another. And then we have the crazy screaming woman. The contrast was startling, to say the least.
Most everyone seemed aware of what was going on but would make a point to not look. I spoke with the owner of the dance studio following the class. I told her what I had witnessed and that I was not comfortable with ignoring it. She agreed that it was time for someone to turn this over to the authorities and quickly supplied all the required information. I called the police and followed up with a trip to the police station to make a formal statement. Most people are reluctant to become involved, which is understandable in my opinion. I don’t want to have to testify and I certainly don’t want her to know where I live. She looks like she is one of the tougher broads in her trailer park. If she came after me I would have no choice but to run. With my recent knee surgeries, it is likely that she might outrun me and beat me to a bloody pulp. I had to ask myself, who is supposed to speak up for such children?