My Sweet Widdle Gopher


(This photo was found here.)

During my breaks at work, I often slip outside by myself. Near a particular nook where I stand to take shelter from the wind, there is a gopher hole. The gopher who pokes his head out of it is never too thrilled with my presence, and he whistles at me in this way that puffs out his cheeks to tell me to get off his fecking property already while only blinking one eye at a time. I click my tongue at him in return, which always makes him cock his head a bit, as though he could decipher what I might be trying to say. I like him.

I am also fully aware that this little gopher is probably fifty different gophers that have burrowed under that section of land, but I am an inveterate anthropomorphizer. I prefer to think of all fifty gophers that might pop their heads up out of that hole as this one, whom I have decided is male. This way, I feel less like of an idiot when I ask him how his day is going, and I can pretend that we are getting used to each other. The first time I met him, he stuck only his nose above the grassline, but now he emerges to show his entire head and shoulders. I imagine that he is starting to like me, too.

Apparently, gophers are creatures of habit, just like us. The grass is still a bit long from last fall, so it has been beaten down into three clear trails from the gopher's hole. To me, the hole looks round, and it would make as much sense in that open section of lawn to run in one direction as any other, but there are the three trails anyway. I followed one to see if there was a hole at its other end, but it eventually tapered off until there was no obvious path left.

This gopher and his trails through the grass have been sitting in my brain for days. That nook out of the wind and those paths have entered several dreams over the last three nights. When I pass patches of grass elsewhere, I look to see if there are any similar trails there. I click my tongue at other gophers as though I know them. You would think with all the whistling this little guy does to tell me to get lost that I would not be so weirdly obsessed with him and his ilk.

I am calling this a phase and leaving it at that, because this is strange. I completely get that. Besides, there is no support group in which I could stand up and say "There's this gopher who just won't like me". There is no book called He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Gophers. I know that this gopher will never crawl into my lap to groom his tail.

You would like him, too, though. I swear. There is this really cute part just at the end of his whistling when he deflates his cheeks in one big puff, and sometimes, if it is still enough, you can hear the little whoosh of air. And that cock of his head when he listens to your tongue click? Priceless.

So. Yeah. Ahem.

I feel like I can't end it here. I have to explain something to you. I am not in love with this fifty-in-one gopher. That would be ridiculous. I just want to get all schmoopy on him like that abominable snowman who loves Daffy Duck.

I just want to pet him and kiss him and maybe put his little feet in my mouth. You know, the usual.

Now I am all defensive, and I want to make sure that you understand that this unreasonable sweetness I feel is purely nonsexual in nature. It is like I want to make babies, only I want them to be furry, little, burrowing rodents.

Yes, that makes it ALL better, doesn't it? Sheesh. Just click this link and forget that we ever had this conversation.

Thank you.