Tuesday, April 2, 2019

April Showers

A hard rain's gonna fall. It was no April Fool's joke, Peter Cooper Village has decided to ban the feeding of squirrels. I went over there today to test the waters and was immediately confronted by a guard -- the same guard who had told me to "only feed the squirrels in their habitat" was now telling me that I couldn't feed them at all. I said fine, and went about my business. I was actually looking for my pet, Gray Momma, who has not been doing well recently, and did not make an appearance today.

Gray Momma

While I was looking for her I was not feeding squirrels, but a PCV resident came by and started feeding them. She told me that as long as there were no guards around, she'd continue to feed them. I warned her that she still had to be careful because there are quite a few "good citizens" around who will call a guard and report you in a heartbeat. I told her that she might have to go under cover. We joked around and talked about the idea of setting up an underground network of feeders.

Then as I started towards the exit gate, I saw the same guard that had approached me earlier, standing by the gate,legs wide apart in a combative stance. He'd been watching me! Now he was coming after me even though I'd done nothing wrong. I told him that I hadn't been feeding the squirrels since he told me not to. He said that feeding squirrels was now against the law in the city and state of New York. And he said it almost triumphantly. I told him that even if that were the case, and I'm not sure it is, the law would only apply to city parks, not to private property. But I think PCV may be trying to cash in a trend, taking advantage of the prevailing zeitgeist to push their own plan through.

Perhaps thinking I didn't believe him, the guard asked if I wanted to see the flyer.  I said, sure, show me the flyer. So he called up someone who apparently did not have the so-called flyer, but I overheard them telling him that there was a 30-day grace period during which the guards were only to issue warnings, not take any action.

When I confronted him with that he kind of lost his momentum and melted away. But in his place was another, nastier guard, who began following me around on a scooter, harassing me. I'm pretty sure this was the same guard who had told me not so long ago that it was okay to feed the squirrels as long as I stayed away from the playgrounds,which I agreed to, feeling as guilty as a pedophile. She of course denied saying that. So surely it was probably another female guard who just looked and sounded like her.

I told her that I had not been feeding squirrels today and that even if I had, there was a 30-day grace period before they were supposed to take any action. I guess she didn't being challenged, because she said that the "grace period" was only for residents, so did not apply to me, and therefore she was escorting me off the property.

Me: But I didn't do anything.  I'm not even feeding squirrels!
She: But the squirrels are following you around because they know you.

So that was the rationale for booting me off the premises -- not for feeding the squirrels, but for exciting them, for putting impure thoughts of peanuts into their little heads! Thought crimes!

When I refused to leave, she kept following me around. When I sat down on a bench to rest, she parked her scooter nearby. When I finally did get up to go, she followed me all the way to the gate. As I exited the park, I noticed two heavyweights -- and I do mean heavy -- big guys sitting in a scooter built for two on the sidewalk outside the gate.  One of them looked me in the eye and asked: "How are you doing today?"

Was this the backup? They then drove through the gate and stopped their vehicle to talk to the guard on the scooter who was still watching me.
Black Momma

My precious Black Momma, who is extremely smart, had figured out that something not quite kosher was going on, and had followed me out to the sidewalk. I thought it was safe to feed her out here, as I was not on private property or in a city park. So I did. And she ate. But I could tell she was nervous.

After about ten minutes I looked over and saw the two "bigwigs" still conferring with the guard. They were having a long conversation about something. You'd think from all the commotion and cornering going on, that they were dealing with some kind of domestic terrorist threat, not someone who had been caring for the squirrels at PCV for over ten years.

This was a sad day for Peter Cooper Village. It was a sad day for the City of New York. It was a sad day for the squirrels.  And it was a sad day for me.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner's face is always well-hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

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