So I Came Home and Saw the Dead Squirrel…

vegasBut we’ll get to that in a minute.

I spent Monday last week through Monday this week on the road. Two book tour events, a speaking engagement, and a business meeting finished off by a weekend in Las Vegas for one dear friend’s 40th birthday and another’s wedding. As little time possible was spent on The Strip, as having lived in Vegas, I have no love lost for the city as a destination. I affectionately refer to it as “where culture goes to die.” You can’t change my opinion on the matter.

When I wasn’t visiting and celebrating with friends, I was outdoors (see image to the right). Some ill-informed voice in my head thought that I was still in my mid-30s and advised me that hiking/trail running for 10 miles on Saturday followed by another 6 miles on Sunday was a fan-fucking-tastic idea. To give you an idea of the damage I did to myself, I was offered a wheelchair upon arriving in Denver (fuck you) which I politely declined.

But there’s another kind of damage that came from this weekend. Or damage uncovered, rather.

It was the realization that I’d buried a part of myself for the past 3.5 years since moving to Denver.

When I lived in Las Vegas, I had this completely amazeballz group of friends. We climbed, camped, hiked, cooked at one another’s houses, played water volleyball on inflatable animals in one another’s pools…I spent half my time outdoors and strangely enough, moved to an outdoor mecca where I take advantage of very little this beautiful state has to offer. Sure, I have a herd of bikes and take the twice-a-year hike when I haul my ass to the mountains. I downhill mountain bike in the summer on select weekends.

But my lifestyle? This weekend I was startled when I realized why I haven’t been completely happy since moving to Denver.

I’d left my lifestyle behind.

It’s startling to be startled. It’s rude. It doesn’t care whether you like it or not, it’s comin’ for ya anywhoo and you’re due for a pretty sizable fuck you when it lands on your doorstep. Or your sofa, for that matter.

After being on the road for 8 days nonstop, I came home last night from my book signing event in Boulder at the iconic Boulder Book Store. Great folks, great event, people bought books, I continued to feel like a colossal tool for signing them (really? me?), and I walked in my door around 9:30-10pm last night exhausted and ready to collapse onto the sofa…

except for the fact that there was a DEAD FUCKING SQUIRREL ON IT. Case in point.

dead squirrel

Small Dog was sitting next to it doing this subversive little grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and Hippopotamus was being a total spaz, circling the thing as if to say GOT IT I GOT THE SQUIRREL OH YES SQUIRREL I’M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU LADY I GOT IT.

And this was also startling. I may or may not have shrieked. You might also notice that the squirrel is on the Unauthorized Blanket, which is my favorite blanket on the entire fucking planet which makes the situation suck even more. (Note: dogs were escorted outside, Unfortunate Squirrel was wrapped in a sacrificial bath towel and escorted to its final resting place without incident. Unauthorized Blanket was chucked in the wash along with a tad of bleach on the HOT AS A MOTHERFUCKER wash cycle.)

So…startling.

Kinda lands in your life like a dead squirrel on your sofa at 10pm.

Change is afoot. I’m moving my life (and self). Physically and emotionally. And I’ll tell you — dead squirrel and all, I slept straight through the night last night for the first time in what seems to be ages. It’s a busy time — reclaiming the things I thought I could do without (but can’t), granting myself permission to trade convenience for access, and doing yet another ushering of people who give me grief right out the door.

And there’s a business shift afoot, too. It will be launching on Monday, July  16. If you want to stay in the loop on what it might be, use this snazzy opt-in form. Gimme your email address. That’s it. Tell me to fuck off anytime.






Cabana Boy wants to send you an email…see what’s under his towel on July 16, 2012! (Guys — just pretend this is a hot chick)

 

We respect your email privacy

Enjoy the day. Hope yours is filled with fewer fucking squirrels than mine. Actually, copulating squirrels wouldn’t be so bad.

15 comments
Rtietz
Rtietz

Love your shit sweety! 

rita
rita

I love this.  It reminds me of coming home to find a dead raccoon...but not on my sofa.  UGH!  I don't know how you dealt with that...AND slept through the night.  gross!  I can't wait to see what you've got under your...well up your sleeve.  ;) 

Mike Masin
Mike Masin

I've searched my data banks trying to assemble an image but there aren't enough bits with the correct pattern that correlate with "Erika Napoletano" and "shriek". The only image I was able to conjure had a stream of f-bombs sprinkled with other random expletives :)

Peter
Peter

Are you familar with the work of A.E. Housman? His poetry is simply written, but deep and lovely. And whenever I see or hear of situations like the one you describe above, I think of the following Housman poem, which addresses a past, gone but not forgotten: Into my heart an air that kills   From yon far country blows: What are those blue remembered hills,   What spires, what farms are those? That is the land of lost content,   I see it shining plain, The happy highways where I went   And cannot come again. I understand these words to be, among other things, a reminder that moving forward (not progressing) involves not only drawing on your past climaxes and pinnacles, but acknowledging and accepting that the present offers us the best perspective of ourselves and our present landscape. They are a reminder that we have to leave our brightest moments, things, and places behind us whether or not we want to. They are a call to face the dark fact that content does not equate to content (the pun is one of the best in the English language), and conversely. But they are also a sobering declaration that you must find other routes to content, you can no longer return to the past ones. In these words, I see Housman wishing us a happy journey.

Lisa Carter
Lisa Carter

Vegas may be where culture goes to die, but Nevada has a way of making you get out and live. Something in the nuclear tested air I guess.

cabocalla
cabocalla

Are you sure that squirrel wasn’t just sleeping? Shit, I’m pretty sure I'd spontaneously fall asleep upon touching the Unauthorized Blanket. I had two enormous black cats years ago that regularly brought home jackrabbits, waterfowl (they weren’t ducks, but they had webbed feet), and as the previous commenter mentioned, countless half-a-mouses, which in fact, are very small squirrels. Change is the only constant, and you ride that bitch with style and grace. xo

Kellie J. Walker
Kellie J. Walker

Diggin' how you handled the dead squirrel and The Dead Squirrel. Can't wait to see what's afoot for you - personally and professionally (especially after having the chance to chat with you in Atlanta). Big hugs and a a motherfucking, 'Booyah!' to you, Red.

paulkiser
paulkiser

I moved from Denver to Reno in 1995 (ironically to start a theatre company) and I agree with you that Las Vegas and all of Nevada is where culture comes to die. A few years ago I drove around on back streets of Las Vegas behind the Strip (I was bored) and it is like going backstage in a seedy theatre. Nevada has the highest violent crime rate, the worst schools, the highest unemployment, highest foreclosure rate, some of the highest middle class taxes (sales, property, etc.) and the worst infrastructure of any state.  The ironic thing is that the 'natives' have all the awareness of roadkill. Nevada is a dead state and nothing is going to save it anytime soon. Regarding your overall topic, I think we have to build up a certain 'dissatisfaction' with anything before we take action. We seem to slide into a comfort zone for awhile, or maybe we just become too distracted and we don't realize what the price of comfort or distraction is to our happiness. It takes dissatisfaction and a dead squirrel to kick us in the ass. Good luck with rejoining your old life, but remember "sometimes wanting is not as satisfying as having...it is not logical but it is true" (Quote from Spock.) Paul Kiser

Marianna Trevino Wright
Marianna Trevino Wright

Magical!  And I LOVE gnomes. Actually, I adore them. (Ok, it's an obsession.) So, please, if you know any, go ahead and pass my email along.  

Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef
Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

I almost peed, Erika. Dead squirrel as a metaphor? Now I've seen everything. (Also, I gave up my email to the naked man.)

AmyS
AmyS

Ick.  I hate it when I have to act like a proud momma to animals that bring me dead offerings.  I know it's because they love me, or they would have eaten it instead of presenting it on my best pillow, but yuck... AND I have quickly signed up on the new email list.  The only thing better than a redheaded bitch slap is one that comes with a cabana boy.  Cabana boys are are like chocolate and margaritas - they make everything better.

Dick Carlson
Dick Carlson

You left your dog alone for a week and all you got was a DEAD SQUIRREL?  The pugs would have presented me with an entire couch chewed to bits.

Jason Konopinski
Jason Konopinski

I'll have you know that I'm laughing my everlovin' ass off right now.