6:30 am Wake up disoriented, with a funny taste in my mouth. Shift away from the sun and discover a chipmunk, fast asleep not two inches from my protruding belly. I whimper, curse, and then remind myself (again) not to go on any more blind dates. Fermented chestnuts will make anyone look good.
6:35 am Make myself scarce. Despite my weakened constitution, I roll blindly off the branch that cradled me (and my diminutive companion) in my unrest and trust that my fall won’t result in any long-term harm. I land feet-first on one of those new Turbo VW Bugs, but fail to find equilibrium on its annoyingly curved and slick surface and proceed to slide off the back onto the pavement. I lose my breath and dry-heave. There aren’t many pedestrians on the street, and I decide that my clumsy tumble has gone unnoticed. I hear a squeak from above me. I look up and make eye contact with the wee chippy. I blink once and then scurry.
6:37 am I hear the squeal of brakes and suddenly everything is dark. I smell gasoline. An eternity passes. Daylight. I breathe. I do not fail to notice that I have wet myself. I get out of the street and run west. Then north. Toward home.
8:15 am Adrenaline has forestalled my impending hangover for the better part of the morning, but I begin to drag when I reach Foster and Kedzie. I am nearly there. I try to remember how I could have come so far south. It occurs to me that I have no long-term memory. I am doomed to a life of making the same mistakes over and over. This makes my nose wiggle.
9:30 am Even though I am less than 400 yards from home, I decide to investigate a dumpster behind a Wendy’s that I see out of the corner of my eye. I am at that stage of hangover where all I need is some fries. I get my front feet in the crevice between the dumpster and the dumpster cover. I press my face into the dumpster and thrash my tail wildly in order to gain some momentum. I fall several feet to the bottom of the dumpster.
9:31 am The empty dumpster. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust and for my head to clear, but almost immediately I realize my mistake: Wendy’s has no breakfast menu and all the trash from the previous night has been removed. I am a stupid squirrel. I curse and bite my sharp front teeth into the flesh of my hairy chin. This self-abuse will get me nowhere. I realize that this is bad karma generated from the chipmunk incident. I breathe deeply and exit the dumpster.
10:00 am Almost home. I had promised myself to make serious progress on my winter hoard of chestnuts today, but the way I feel now, I’m like, “Forget it.”
10:15 am Home. Waves of relief and nausea pass over me as I collapse against an unimpressive pile of nuts. I REALLY need to get some nuts today. Like the princess and the pea, I have a vague but insistent sense that instinct is trying to tell me something. I can’t help but admit that I feel a bit of a nip in the air.
6:00 pm OK, it’s getting dark. Clearly I didn’t go out for nuts. I look at my impressive gut and think that even if I don’t get enough before the snow starts falling, I should still be able to make it until Spring.
6:15 pm I’m kidding myself. I’m going to starve. Why do I always let myself procrastinate like this? I’ve got one job in this life, why can’t I just do it?
6:20 pm All this fretting makes me tired. And hungry. I gnaw leisurely on a chestnut as my eyes begin to droop. Tomorrow, I think. I yawn (adorably) and settle into the cushion of my tail.