Hey Stanley! It’s Cold Out Here!

9 02 2006

I don’t want to alarm anyone unnecessarily……

But the Minty Squirrel may be dead.

It was alive on Monday morning when I drove to work, and when I went to start it after work – nothing. Not even a glimmer of life. Now, I am assuming that it is just the battery, but because I can’t do anything about it until this weekend, I have started an alternative commute strategy.


I walk to the train (takes about 15 minutes). It is still darkish out, and one day it was even foggy and mysterious. That day I pretended I was in an old movie and I was a glamorous yet dangerous spy.

When I depart the train, I get on the bus that brings me right to work. I actually get to work in the same time frame, sometimes faster.


I walk to the bus stop right outside of work, then catch the train from the station home. Then I walk home. This way is a bit more unpredictable it seems. But I am still getting home in very good time. On a good day, the entire commute is only about 30 minutes, compared to an hour by car.

I believe I will keep this as my commute because:

  1. I like the walking thing in the morning and afternoons, it is quite refreshing.
  2. It is faster.
  3. I feel like it will be friendlier to the environment.
  4. If the Minty Squirrel is not dead, this will extend it’s poor little life.
  5. Stanley and his friend.

Every morning I am almost 100% guaranteed to catch the same bus when I get off the train. There are always the same two men waiting at the stop. They are both obviously mentally challenged.

One wears the same clothes every day (at least he has Tuesday through Thursday) – Brown pants, a plaid orange and brown shirt that is left untucked, and a hunter’s orange coat. He talks to himself, but is quiet and does not disturb anyone.

The other is this fantastic little man…… he is small in stature, carries a lunch box cooler, wears a cap and a moustache. He doesn’t talk to anyone but the first man. Today, he was jumping up and down and saying, “Hey Stanley! It’s cold out here!” over and over. If you didn’t pay much attention or weren’t around too long, you would think he was a typical blue collar guy.

Except for the ticks.

Occasionally but regularly, he will look up in the sky excitedly and smile the biggest and most endearing smile you can imagine. It’s like his best friend that he hasn’t seen for 10 years is hovering up there and just took him by surprise. Then he will glance around at everyone in the vicinity to see if maybe someone else may have witnessed this fantastic event in the sky.

This happens approximately every 2 minutes.

Everyone ignores him. I guess I can see why. But I can’t help but wonder if he is very disappointed in us. Where is our joy? Why do we only look at our shoes and not up at the sky where the wonderful thing is occurring?

It must be frustrating.

Today, when he saw whatever he saw up there and started to smile that incredible smile. I secretly caught his eye. With our eye contact, his perusal of the crowd immediately stopped, but his smile stayed.

I smiled. I looked up at the sky. And I met his eye again.

I’m sure I didn’t see what he did. But I have been smiling ever since.




5 responses

9 02 2006

good one, shari. i’m smiling too. (cue the “somewhere out there” music from an american tail)

9 02 2006

Oh that’s fantastic Shari!

Dear Minty Squirrel:
We love you and want you to stay.
Love, everyone.

10 02 2006

Maybe everybody else is the mentally challenged one, and he just gets the big joke?

My thoughts are with you and Minty Squirrel during this difficult time. Hoping he pulls through (he is a “he”… isn’t he?)

10 02 2006

Get well soon, Minty Squirrel.

10 02 2006

Shari – I had my own Minty Squirrel for several years. I had two problems that sound similar:

A passive, dealer-installed security device that was not purchased. They just ripped the control chip out. Eventually, the wires corroded and could not get a signal from the ignition to the starter.

I also had to replace the starter solonoid once – I don’t know if this is an issue with Festivas or not.

Good luck – I miss my Festiva more every day…

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