Every month, as part of my GCC Photography class, I take my students on a photo walk through the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia. But for some reason, this Sunday’s trip was a bit out of the ordinary.
First of all, my current class is all women so we didn’t have a single man in our group. And out of all the women who came to the photowalk, I was the only single female in the bunch (a title that I am far too used to). But that wasn’t the strange part of the day.
From the moment I walked into the Arboretum, things seemed a little off. There were peacocks everywhere, of course, but not a single peahen in sight. I eventually saw a peahen with her babies but usually there are a few toward the gates to greet you. And for some reason, the peacocks came right toward me, brushing up against me. One of my students asked if they knew me. Perhaps, I did go there a lot. I did have bread with me but it was tucked away in my backpack. They couldn’t smell the bread, which was neatly tied up in a plastic bag–could they?
I didn’t think too much about it as we made our way on the usual photowalk route. Things seemed to be fine until a squirrel stopped us. It went right past the 6 women with me and headed straight toward me before it proceeded to climb up my leg. I have never had a squirrel climb up me before. This was surreal. I quickly took the bread out of my bag and gave some to the squirrel to get it off of my leg. My students took pictures of the creature enjoying his breakfast as I stood there in shock.
The shock didn’t fade, especially when it suddenly felt like we were in an episode of “Wild Kingdom.” The squirrel suddenly ran off to the side, buried his bread and ran toward a bush. Then a blue jay swooped down, dug up the squirrel’s bread and flew off with it. Again, something I have never witnessed before.
I told my students that they were certainly getting plenty of photo opportunities to the likes of which I have never seen before. Little did I know that things were about to get a lot more interesting.
We made our way into the “Tropical Rain Forest” section of the Arboretum. Two squirrels were chasing each other but stopped when we appeared on the pathway. I reached down to give one squirrel a piece of bread, which it sniffed and ran off. I guess he (or she) wasn’t a fan of multi-grain bread. But the other squirrel came right up to me and took the bread right out of my hand. When he sat up to enjoy his meal, he made it very clear to us that he was indeed a boy. He had the biggest pair of . . . “nuts” that I have ever seen on a squirrel before. He finished his bread and came back over to me. He tapped on my shoe and made a noise I have never heard before. I gave him another piece of bread and when he sat up, I suddenly felt like I was dealing with a flasher. The squirrel, with the extra large nuts, was very excited to be fed by me. I caught my first glimpse of a squirrel erection.
Once again, I was in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was brushed against by peacocks, I had a squirrel practically hump my leg, and now I was being flashed by the Dirk Diggler of Squirrels.
But I had to soldier on (no pun intended). We made our way over to the lake. I always take my students to an area where there is a palm tree that is bent over the lake. I can always get the squirrels, ducks, turtles and fish to come out. And to complete my “Twilight Zone” type of day, one handful of bread crumbs managed to bring out every animal in the area. It was like I was Dr. Dolittle–the animals flocked to me. The Canadian Geese were the worst. They followed me everywhere and if I tried to feed another animal, they hissed at me. At one point, I noticed a duck off to the side laying down. He had an injured foot (I later got the animal rescue to help him). I bent over to give him some bread when a Canadian Goose decided I wasn’t paying enough attention to him so he bit me in the ass.
That was it!! I gave away the rest of the bread to the ducks and fish before we moved on to the waterfall. I had had enough of the Animal Kingdom for one day. Being goosed by an actual goose was more than I could handle.
I didn’t understand why they were only coming after me. They even followed me for a bit after I ran out of bread. Was it because I was the only single woman there? It was the male of each species that was sexually harassing me. I don’t get this much attention from the males in my own species. I just don’t get it.
As soon as I got home, I just collapsed on the bed. Usually when I get home, my cat Missy will lay on my jacket so I can’t go anywhere. On this particular day, just to add to my weird animal moments, she decided to lay on my back so I couldn’t go anywhere. She has never done this before. If I tried to move, she would just dig her claws into my back. So I gave in and laid there until she decided to move on her own.
That’s when I called my friends and we went to Universal CityWalk, a place where there were no wild animals walking around. Well, only the human and animatronic variety. I needed a frozen banana on a stick, covered in chocolate and nuts, to make me feel better.