Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Two completely unrelated stories...

Last night my education class had our first “field trip.” We went to a local science center to learn about the benefit of hands-on education. For part of the evening, we were enclosed in a room full of animals. Now, those of you who have read my Blogger’s 101 may remember that animals make me nervous. I like my cats but the rest I’d prefer not to deal with. In fact, I regularly tell my fish (by which I mean Owen’s fish) that I wish they would die. Only once has one of them actually listened to me and jumped out of the tank to commit suicide (I found it all dried up the next morning…and I made Owen clean it up).

So you can imagine the degree of my discomfort last night when I was ushered into a room full of animals in boxes. There were tarantulas, lizards and, God-awful worst of all, snakes…a python, which the guide got out to let us hold and which, I swear, kept giving me the evil eye.

The only critter I didn’t mind at all was Sheldon, a gigantic tortoise. I can’t remember his particular breed (do just dogs have breeds or can tortoises too?), but Sheldon is not full grown. He’s still well in his youth, measuring about 1 ½ to 2 feet across (I know that’s vague…I’m shit at estimating…English degree). Sheldon loves to come out and play. He does laps around the benches and loves to explore. As tortoises are herbivores, Sheldon likes the veggies. It’s safe to say that he loves them. They didn’t have anything to give him last night but squash. Ick. Sheldon didn’t mind, though. He dug into the slice they gave him with a degree of vigor and gusto rarely displayed by tortoises. In fact, he fed his little tortoise face so fast that, as the guide was showing us the tarantula, he let out a massive burp. You may have heard it…it was around 6:30 EST last night. I didn’t know tortoises could burp…had never heard of such a thing….but with Sheldon’s talents I’m sure he’d have a welcome place in any frat house.

Then I woke up in the middle of the night last night and remembered…I HAD heard of a belching tortoise before. Yurtle the Turtle, a gem of a tale by Dr. Seuss….is the story of a vain turtle king who builds his throne to the sky literally atop the backs of his fellow turtles until, one day, Yurtle, near the bottom of the stack, belches…and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Who knew Seuss had a scientific basis?

On a completely unrelated note…I think I might be watching too much crime TV. Lately I have this fascination with shows like Law and Order, SVU, CSI and anything similar. I have been fascinated by documentaries on coroners’ offices and medical examiners. I have the TiVo set to keep 5 episodes of CSI on tape at all times. I might be a little obsessed.

The other night, as I happened to be watching CSI and doing the laundry, there was a knock at the door. Owen, and most of his friends, were at bowling, so I knew it wouldn’t be anybody I knew. Besides…it was at the FRONT door….most unusual. Who knocks? And, moreover, who comes to the front door? It was a sales-dude (too young to be a salesman), something we almost never get at our house. Later that evening, as I was still watching CSI and still folding laundry (a different load by now) my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered it anyway. I figure, you never know when it might be the Publisher’s Clearinghouse letting you know that you’re the next million-dollar winner. The fact that it might be a serial killer like in Scream never entered my mind. “Hello?”

Him: “Hello, is Josh there?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.” (Damn, there goes my million)

Him: “No I don’t…your number is on my caller I.D.”

Me: “I’m sorry…but that can’t be. I don’t know you.”

Him: “But it is…it’s been there for months.”

Me: “Well…I’m sorry, but it’s wrong” (Click…I hang up.)

So now I’m freaked. I can just imagine him out there in the dark, watching me through the lit windows of the house…waiting to pounce. I shut off the light (why? So he can’t see me….never mind that it means I won’t see him either) and walk briskly (because to run would indicate panic on my part…logically completely unwarranted) to each door and ensure that it is locked. I consider calling Owen…not to ask him to come home (again…coward!) but just to ask when he might be home…so I could know.

I decide against calling him, chastising myself for being so silly, and after finishing the last episode of CSI, go to bed to read a little while. But I hear noises. Was that the door? How could I be? I locked it. Was that a thud? What makes a thud? Oh God…

I decide it’s best to get up and leave the bedroom door open so that I could better hear any suspicious noises out in the other room. It also occurs to me that, since we never lock our doors, Owen doesn’t have a key. This means I will have to either wait up for him (until who knows when) or leave the door unlocked. I decide to wait up.

About half an hour later, I hear a pounding on the door. (The battery in the doorbell has been dead for over year. It’s purely ornamental now.) I practically jump out of my skin and then realize it’s just Owen, coming home. But what if it isn’t? The door is glass, the serial killer will see me and then he HAS to kill me. Unless I can kill him or knock him out first. I look around me for a weapon…I find pillows (and smothering takes WAY too long), books (kids books, not big enough)….nothing….except…my hairbrush! I’ll whack him with it bristle side out and that will hurt! Then I can turn the hard side on him and knock him out with it (it seemed logical at the time) if I hit him right in the temple or something.

Weapon in hand, I step from the bedroom and around the corner to see, in the light of the driveway I’d left on, Owen, standing there with his bowling shoes in hands, wondering why in God’s name I’ve locked the door. So…I let him in and apologized. He asked why I’d locked the door and I told him….most of the story. I didn’t mention the hairbrush.

We’ve both agreed that I’m watching too much crime television.

No comments: