Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spain: Crispulito the hedgehog


From the Spain-based Sounds In The Hickory Wind:

Hedgehog Fetishism Revisited

My spiny co-blogger is a creature of strange habits. I have previously accused him of having an underwear fetish as he will run off with any bit of used clothing that happens to get left on the floor. They used to end up in one of his nests, which is why I assumed he liked being surrounded by the smell of human intimacy. But I may have misjudged him (slightly).

I now wonder if he just likes playing with things that smell like us, and he left them in his bed partly for warmth and partly to be sure he could find them again. But now that the heat is really beginning (it's 90º and we're only in spring) and he's been with us long enough to know his way around and to treat us as no more than a harmless, and sometimes useful, inconvenience, he just leaves them lying around when he's finished playing.

Because playing it is. In the summer he keeps them in his bed, too, but in summer we're in the mountains and it cools down rapidly once the sun goes down. But now, the days are hot and the nights are sweaty and he doesn't need a blanket. So he plays with underwear, and socks.

He pushes them with his snout, unable to see where he's going, following the sock as it veers left and right, until it gets caught on something or hits a wall. Then he stops, evaluates the situation, changes its position with his teeth, and goes off again, running behind it until it gets away from him again. He can do this for long periods. Then he will suddenly tire, leave the sock where it is, and go off to eat, drink, or run round in circles, something else he is very fond of.

He used to have a larger circuit, involving several rooms each with more than one door, so he could arrive back where he started and go round again. The region thus created was not simply connected, and I assumed that was part of the fun. However, he has recently taken to running round in much smaller circles, of two or three feet, beside the bed, and he does it so quickly that he often loses his rear legs on the polished wooden floor like a F1 car taking the chicane late in a race. Quite why he finds this entertaining I couldn't say, though I do have a theory.

The problem, I suspect, is that, like all animals, he has hormones, instincts, sap, urges, an understanding of the phases of the moon etc, but he doesn't know that there is such a thing as a hedgesow. If he ever met one I can imagine his face clearing and his shoulders untensing as a lot of things suddenly fell into place. As it is, he is forced to expend his energies and seek an explanation of his inner feelings in forms of play.

Yes, Crispulito is a geek, a Trekkie, obsessed with the details of objectively pointless pastimes because he can't "pull".

Copyright. Reproduced with the kind permission of the author, who says of himself and his friend:

"I am an Englishman who has spent his adult life in Spain, mostly as an English teacher, translator and occasional writer of textbooks. For the last 13 years I have lived in a small city in La Mancha, the hot and dry area south of Madrid. Here I run a language Academy, teach in a high school, teach the odd course at the University, translate articles for anyone who needs it, and drink cold beer while moaning about the government, You might say I am a professional Englishman. We spend the summer, and weekends whenever possible, in the lake district of Ruidera, 70 miles east of here, where we have a house. [Many of the photos on the blog are of that area]
 
Some five years ago my wife saw a hedgehog in a petshop and informed me she wanted it. Being a loving husband I obliged, and he has had the run of the house ever since. Aside from his documented fetishism, he is rather paranoid, never quite sure if he can trust you, and selfish with food, in that when he finds anything especially tasty he looks at you out of the corner of his eye and then runs under the nearest piece of furniture to enjoy it in peace. We have told him that we have chocolate and nuts of our own, and we have no wish to share his beetles, but he isn't taking any chances. He likes to be with us, sleeping under the bed and coming to run around the living room as soon as he gets up in the evening, but he isn't very keen on being picked up and stroked. He has a special, put-upon expression which he reserves for these occasions.
 
He is now nearly five, as I said, but is a happy- if slightly neurotic- and healthy hedgehog, who still spends the night running around the house, eternally optimistic that around the next corner there will be another little morsel. Which we usually make sure there is. In the summer he loves the farm because it smells of the wider world and he cleans the floor of ants and spiders and so on every night. When we arrive there I swear his face lights up."
 
I confess to sharing this writer's erinaceous weakness, as my family raised an orphan hedgehog to fat and sassy adulthood in Cyprus, many years ago. For more on Crispulito's charming ways, and the love of Spain generally, please see CIngrams' blog "Sounds In the Hickory Wind" (Europe bloglist in sidebar).

No comments: