“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone
I’ve been working on this shitty post for a week now. And you’ll know why I say it’s shitty as soon as I post it. It’s been shitty for me to write and it’ll be shitty for you to read. Ha! You’re welcome, Blog World.
While I get my life together with this other post, I figured I’d take a break and write something else. Give myself a little mind break. So, for your reading pleasure…the second installment of The Speedster.
This week, we are diving into a short little story about the time I lost him because waffles. Yep, that’s right, waffles. It’s not some pet name or anything… it’s legitimately waffles. Like, the food you put in your mouth at breakfast time. Or whenever. Because honestly you can eat those delicious checkered pastry things any time of the day. I don’t judge.
This story takes place after we moved out of the duplex, so Speedster did not have his fenced yard. We actually did have a fenced backyard, but it was a giant and terrifying thing I did not want to release a tortoise into. We owned a .55 acre lot and the house sat about midway in between. That gave it a pretty sizable front and backyard. The backyard was fenced, the front was not. We had a small fenced side yard that we let the dogs do their business in because I did not want to pick up poop in the huge backyard. I’m lazy. Also, if you recall from a previous post, the dogs eat dirt and do other naughty things when unsupervised in the yard, so the less space, the better. Obvi, we would let them in the back for supervised playtime, but. . . o k a y. This post is about Speedy. Turnin’ back around.
I let Speedy into the backyard on one occasion and lost him almost immediately. We had about 80 ponderosa pine trees and we weren’t very good about upkeep. He likes to burrow. Pine needles. You see where this is going. So I did not release him back there again. Plus, the fence we had was wire and I knew he could easily escape if he wanted. The neighbors had similarly huge yards. What a disaster. In my very intelligent mind, I figured it would be better if I let him roam around in our unfenced front yard that had ample grass, dandelions, clover, and sunlight. Such good roaming grounds. But no fence. He could just… waltz the fuck off. Or pimp walk the fuck off? Whatever a crippled tortoise does.
So I tagged the bitch. In duplex days, I put blue painters tape on his shell so I could find him more easily. In this house, I figured I would need something extra with all the grass, so I stuck a bright post-it note up like a flag and secured it with blue tape. I still lost him. But he was more easy to find. Sometimes.
Most of the time I would only lose him temporarily. Like, for a few minutes. Or twenty. There was that one time we had a liquor store party and I forgot I put him outside. Then I was drunk and it was dusk. Like, pretty dark. Luckily, I had a bunch of other drunk people with me and we conducted a drunk search party for Speedy. We found him after about twenty minutes. He was in the neighbor’s rhubarb. Silly Speedy.
On Monday July 4th, 2016 (yeah, I know the exact date because it was a tragic day I will never forget), I was home alone, it was a beautiful day, and I decided to let the Speedster out to get some sun. Then, I decided it would be a great day to make waffles! Who doesn’t love homemade waffles? Yeah, I have a waffle maker. And that shit takes time. And I get really into cooking. So, I made waffles. And I was SO distracted by the waffles, I completely forgot I put Speedy outside or that I was even a tortoise mother. At some point, I went to the window and stared at the neighbors who were leaving in their RV. This had to have been at least an hour, if not more, after I put Speedy outside. I don’t know though. I got really into those waffles and I don’t honestly think time existed that day. So, these neighbors caught my eye because they were leaving their house in their RV and they just stopped in the middle of the road. No one got out. They just pulled out of their driveway and then stopped. And waited. For a good minute or two? And then they left. It was weird. I remember seeing them stop and I was like, what are they doing? Remember, I’m a hermit creep so I hermit and then just spy on everyone like a creep and avoid social interactions like a total freaking creep. Creep. But, I have social anxiety and I refuse to socialize with my neighbors so if I don’t spy on them how will I know the happenings of the neighborhood, huh? Tell me, how?!!
The RV left and I shrugged it off like they forgot something or they were just being weird. And I went back to my life of whatever else I was doing that day. Because honestly, I don’t remember anything else other than waffles. At some point into the afternoon, I remembered I had a tortoise named Speedy and that I’m the most irresponsible tortoise owner known to man and I put him outside that morning OMG SPEEDY! Obviously, I ran outside and searched for him EVERYWHERE. All of his spots where I previously found him. Nope. High, low, front yard, backyard, neighbor’s yard, rhubarb, under rocks, under the porch, car port, fence line, garden, under the car, EVERYWHERE. I walked along the street and checked out the neighbor’s yards. There was a trailer across the street I looked under. I asked my next door neighbor to look in his yard and he helped me. Nothing. I could not find that little fucker. I was devastated.
So, I drafted up a sign and posted it on the street posts and Craigslist. I felt so defeated.
The next day I had to go back to work. My heart was still broken. I told my coworkers and they were all very sad for me and hoped I would find him. I went home that night and continued my search for him, hoping maybe he moved or came home or something. I dunno… I don’t know tortoises. This continued for three more days. I looked for Speedy in the morning, went to work, came home, and searched for Speedy until dark. I looked on Craigslist Lost and Found ads. Someone had emailed me about a lost tortoise but it wasn’t Speedy. Kind of crazy how many lost tortoises are out there, huh? Yeah, I’m not the only irresponsible one out there. Ha! On Wednesday, I met the owner of the shop and trailer across the street and asked him if I could look behind his shop. He was very kind and gave me permission to do what I needed to find my little tortoise dude. Unfortunately, the guy didn’t upkeep his property very well because he just used it for work. And behind the shop was a literal fucking jungle. If Speedy was back there, I had doubts I would find him. I looked around for a bit and went home defeated.
“What you perceive as a failure today may actually be a crucial step towards the success you seek. Never give up.”Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway
Friday July 8, 2016: After work, I asked my neighbor if I could look in his yard again. There’s a lot of hiding spots so we looked thoroughly. He gave me a yard stick to help with tall grass and noted I could tell if Speedy had been through an area because the grass would be disturbed and flattened. With no luck at his house, I went back through the front yard with my new yard stick. Then I got an idea. I had suspicions that Speedy walked across the street because of that whole weird RV thing. Did the RV see him walking across the street and stop there for a minute to let him cross? It’s a good thing he had his post-it note flag on, huh?! The timing would have been about right. It makes sense. And if he did, he would have gone for the most lush area available to him… THE JUNGLE. Where I could never find him. Bastard. I grabbed my yard stick and headed across the street to the shop. At the top of the hill, the grass was above my waist. There was a clearing and path leading down the hill so I started walking down. I saw some deer laying at the bottom of the property. Then, I noticed a disturbance in the grass and I remembered what my neighbor told me. I stopped walking and turned left to follow the disturbance. I wondered if this flattened path was from the deer. But I continued to follow it anyway. I walked several feet before I started noticing some familiar looking dandelion patches. I inspected them. Huh. These dandelion patches have bites taken out of them. Speedy looking bites. I continued my gaze further up the path from the dandelions and what do you think I saw? A happy-go-lucky Speedy tushy. Just merry along his way, pimp walking through the jungle, wet-ass post-it note still taped to his shell. Happier than a merry-fuckin’ clam. Like nothing was wrong in the world and he didn’t just abandon his mother for four fucking days! Yeah. He just took a little camping trip across the street. NO. BIG. DEAL.
Needless to say, I don’t think he was happy to see me. I’m pretty sure he would have been content living out the rest of his days in that terrifying jungle until he’d get run over with a lawnmower, or made it far enough down the property line to make it back onto the street and get run over by a car. Honestly, I don’t know what would have happened to him or where he would have gone had I not found him that day. I don’t want to think about it. The only thing that matters is I found him. I never gave up on him and I never lost hope because that’s what you do for the things you love. I felt defeated and discouraged on many days but it never stopped me from continuing my search. I maintained my determination and never let go of that goddamn desperate hope I could find the little bastard. I was over-the-moon relieved I found the little tortoise dude… and he was okay! It was a traumatic enough experience for me that I upped my responsibility game after that. I made him a little wired flag with a return address, in case he ever left the property again, and it was way more visible than a post-it note. I also left myself several post-it notes throughout the house that said “SPEEDY” so I would never again forget I was was tortoise mother when I was too distracted by food. Most of the time after that, his visits outside were supervised, but when I did leave him unsupervised, it was only for very short periods of time and I would always makes sure to check on him repeatedly. See? I can learn valuable lessons sometimes. I still allowed him to roam, but I learned to be a little bit more responsible of a tortoise owner so we didn’t go through this again. I mean, I get it. Fourth of July Weekend is for camping and shit… but the least he could do is ask permission next time. Kids, you know?