Tuesday, October 11, 2005



I'm back in New York, with some pictures properly uploaded from my trip. It's photo time.

I'll soon post a collection of snaps, accompanied with observations that range from the immature to the culturally insensitive.

Before I start that overview, I'd like to talk a little more about the love that dare not speak its name -- the Britons' squirrelophelia.

I initially thought that I'd only seen a few eccentrics who were grudgingly tolerated by the public at large. Having spent the past few days in London, I learned that this was not the case. Squirrelophelia is a minor epidemic in all of Britain, with its epicenter located in St. James Park, London. On Sunday morning, I struck out for a little stroll, and observed a man sitting on a park bench. He wore a baseball cap, upon which a squirrel was perched. By the time I grabbed my camera, the squirrel had run off.

That afternoon, walking back to my friends' apartment, I passed through a different section of the park. I overheard two elderly ladies having a conversation, one of whom said this:
"He captured a squirrel, took it indoors, put it out of its bloody ..."
I could hardly believe my ears. Not wanting to blatantly eavesdrop, I kept walking, never to know what "bloody" thing the squirrel was put out of. Its misery? Its mind?

Giddy to have overheard this -- and to have a mystery to ponder for the rest of my life -- I darted behind a tree and wrote the lady's words in my notebook.

In college, my professor of English social history said that the British had an obsession with animals. A famous historian, Keith Thomas, has written a book on ths suject.

Squirrelophelia is alive and well in London. In America, Rick Santorum worries about man-on-dog sex being the logical next step after legalizing gay marriage. With the Anglo-American alliance still in full force (this will be the subject of a future post) can the squirrels be far behind?

1 comment:

Flop said...

Ah, squirrels. My favorite rodent.