Sciurophobia and Children

3:44pm

Mom to Daughter: “Can I sit on this bench?”
D: “No. I need to be able to see you.”
M: *Stands by playground fence, giving up*

It should be noted that this suburban mom also had an ADORABLE brindle colored dog.

3:53pm

Mom to Son: “Tanner come eat.”

3:55pm

Schoolboy on phone: “Hi, are you almost here? Ok. Love you.”

This boy was with another boy and both of them had bikes. I can be gathered that they are probably from Queen of Angels Catholic School about a block west on Western.

3:56pm

Mom to Son (again): “Tanner, come eat NOW.”

3:58pm

An elderly woman dressed entirely in beige with a red vest and fisherman’s hat sits down on the bench next to me. She reaches into her large black backpack and pulls out a white and blue pamphlet with a header that reads “Our Lovely Ladies of Lourdes Church”.

4:01pm

Babysitters or siblings push adorable blonde toddlers on the swing set. They cry out “woohoo!”.

4:03pm

A girl about seven or eight years old brushes her mother’s hair on the hill to the right of the playground.

A weird squirrel hops in front of me and then bounces away.

4:05pm

The smell of a barbecue wafts in the air.


4:05pm

There is a squirrel literally so close to me that I can hear it chewing on something that resembles a cheeto. It is so close to me that I feel general discomfort.

4:07pm

Update: The squirrel just skulked into my direct line of vision and stared at me. It then lunged towards me about two feet away. I shouted “Oh my f*cking God!” and cringed. The elderly lady next to me put down her paper to stare at me. The teenage girl walking by looked at her boyfriend as said, “Why did it come so close?”. I am not a fan of squirrels anymore.

4:15pm

A man wheels by with an ice cream cart. The elderly lady gets up and buys an ice cream sandwich for him. They are conversing with each other in fluent Spanish.

4:19pm

Children on the playground are squealing with excitement as the weird rotating contraption spins them around.

4:21pm

A woman leaves the park with her two children. She is carrying the book 2015 Book of World Records. The small girl did a good job brushing her hair. The woman later reappears inside the playground on the opposite side.

4:22pm

For the 4th time in the last hour, I hear an ambulance speeding down the road somewhere past Pulaski St.

4:24pm

A little girl shouts for her brother, Nolan, to come and pet the aforementioned brindle colored dog.

4:26pm

Nolan proceeds to make a noise that sounds similar to an owl.

4:27pm

“Momma? Can you tell Daddy that I swinged on the swings?” — Nolan’s big sister

4:27pm

A baby inside the playground wearing a red bodysuit chases her mother around in little circles while giggling.

4:27pm

A car drives by the park on Western Ave blasting Spanish music.

4:28pm

It smells like food. Again.

4:28pm

A dad asks his daughter if she wants him to stop pushing the swing.

4:28pm — the end

The park is just as full as when I arrived, the street is just as busy as it was when I walked to the park, and a gorgeous German Shepard dog walks by. There is not a single squirrel in sight.


A Written Response

According to Solnit in “Walking after midnight,” how has gender affected the ability to walk in the city? How has gender affected the experience of walking in the city? What issues affect the perception and treatment of walkers in the city?

Gender affects the ability to walk in the city because gender defines the appropriateness of being out. Solnit discusses how in history women have always been targeted when out alone walking. Sometimes the discrimination is not as black and white. An example would be how headlines always mention a black man getting shot and discuss how his human rights were violated. The contrast is when a woman is out and gets molested, instead of turning to human rights the focus often turns toward why she was molested which could be related to what caused her attackers to act, not why she was the target.

Solnit says that younger women are easier targets when out walking. The supposed reason behind this is not the idea that youthful females call for more attention, but that the younger a woman is, the less aware she is of the right she has to walk in the city.


Where a person is walking and when can be the determining factor for how they are treated. An interesting example is the concept of shopping for women as a safe reason to walk. Solnit describes the retail environment as a “safe” place where women can walk around with a subservient, domesticated purpose instead of just wandered up and down the street. This is an interesting concept which could be related to how predators view somebody differently based on the situation.