Dead Birds and Trash Squirrels

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I’m in Philadelphia. This has been a childhood dream since… my childhood. Actually, visiting Philli wasn’t really the dream, it was just to see the Liberty Bell and other historical sites. Now that I am here, I’m less than impressed, but I’ve only been here for three days. And I still haven’t seen the Bell! It is loud and dirty, crowded and colossal. I’m broke and no one will hire me. The air has that dingy quality to it that big cities do; the effect of too many cars in too little space and too few trees to digest the pollution. The worst part of Philadelphia has been the dead birds. They’re everywhere. Like water from a well, the birds are drawn to skyscraper windows, only to be knocked unconscious and splatter on the pavement; a Jackson Pollock painting gone wrong. What’s even worse is that no one picks them up. They rot on the pavement. Wings stretched, cracked, flattened, bystanders side-stepping the Samaritan. It’s quiet sad, really.

If birds are the Samaritans of Philli, squirrels are the Ninjas. As I walked out of the dorm complex yesterday, I was overcome by surprise at one of the best sites I have ever seen. A gray squirrel- frayed tail, apathetic eyes- leisurely made his way out of a campus trash can and onto his spot of lawn a few feet away. I stared at him, speechless, and the little punk stared back. His eyes said, “Ha, bet you wish you could do that.” Then he took another bite of his Trash Surprise. I told my husband about the incident later that day, only to discover that he had seen the same thing! Apparently, this is a common occurrence here.

Honestly, maybe the reason I don’t like it here is because I’ve never spent an extended period of time in New England. It’s probably just culture shock. Maybe I just need to explore more, but I’m scared. I’ve never explored on a large(er) scale on my own before. So I need to make a decision: Will I be a dead bird or a trash squirrel?

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