The New York City subway is just an endless churn of deeply upsetting, stomach-turning news today and I think we all deserve a break. Therefore, I am pleased to report that we will be taking a little field trip to Toronto, where instead of belligerent subway rats who crawl all over your face, they have polite Straphanger Squirrels who just want to take a quick peek out the window, thanks.
On Monday, local Toronto news site BlogTO tweeted footage of a gregarious tree rodent scurrying discreetly along the backs of subway seats. Just look at this little buddy, its sleek black coat arguably recalling our own transit rats, if they spent more time grooming and less time marinating in oily trash juice. Although brimming with gumption, Straphanger Squirrel exercises a restraint and self-awareness rarely seen on our subways.
— blogTO (@blogTO) September 17, 2018
Admittedly, one passenger does seem surprised to see a silky bandit slinking around inside her train car, but whatever alarm she may have felt fades to amusement in the seconds it takes her to scoot over and make room for this new friend. Straphanger Squirrel appears to be a tame squirrel, perhaps even the pet of the woman who—moments later—cheerfully scoops up the little rascal. "Don't mind Susan," her laughing apology seems to say. "She's just at that age!" And everyone nods knowingly.
Meanwhile, on our rodent-besieged island, sticky-fingered rats pilfer cell phones for selfie-taking purposes; publicly brawl over food scraps great and small; insist on napping with you, on you. Sometimes, rats just rain down from the sky, for no good reason other than the occasional need to remind us all of their dominance over humankind. Our headlines scream, "Oh Dear God Look At All These Rats" and "Brazen Rats Are Reportedly Jumping Into Strollers" and "'Larceny Rat' Spotted Stealing Brooklyn Woman's Mail."
By comparison, the only headline attached to Straphanger Squirrel's debut is a mild "squirrel spotted riding the subway in #Toronto." Just another delightfully understated day in Canada.