The other day I opened my front door to find a turtle on my doorstep.
Seriously. A freaking turtle the size of a football was just hanging out and seeing the sights over here at Bunkersdown.
As you can imagine, all of my offspring exploded with great joy and celebration because there was a turtle at their house. The older two children tried to convince me that letting them go outside to watch the shelled reptile for hours on end (while neglecting their chores and school work) would be a learning experience. “It’s science!” they pleaded.
I wasn’t completely convinced. There was something a little shifty in that turtle’s eye. Plus, he seemed to be saying, “Good hell woman! Would it kill you to sweep your front porch occasionally? Sheesh.” And I have no patience for Judgy Judgertons like that.
(Honestly, doesn’t it feel as if his reptilian eye of red fury is staring directly into your soul? Don’t you get the feeling that he’s a carnivorous beast that only wants to chomp your fingers into small, bloody stumps?
You don’t? It’s only me? Hmmm….weird.)
However, in the name of education and in a vain attempt at squelching my new budding fear of turtles, I did compromise with my children and let them peek and check on the turtle every twenty minutes or so.
I received detailed updates on the turtle’s activities for the next two hours. “He’s still here” alternated with “He’s not doing much right now.” Occasionally, one of my children would say, “He acts like he wants to come inside.” To which I replied immediately and emphatically, “Over my dead body.” (Which is probably, now that I think about it, just what the turtle had in mind).
The kids even came up with a name for him–Mr. Snappy.
Then suddenly, the children went to check on the Mr. Snappy only to find him missing.
We searched high and low for that wretched creature and he was nowhere to be found. Now, I am no genius, but I do know that turtles aren’t the fastest creatures in the land, nor are they ninjas, disappearing into thin air. That turtle had to be somewhere, close by.
And yet we couldn’t find him.
Now whenever I go out my front door to check on my flowers or pick my strawberries I get the unshakeable feeling that I am being watched, stalked if you will. There is a tingly spot on the back of my neck that tells me I am not alone.
And I know someday when I am least expecting it, Mr. Snappy’s going to jump out of the peony bushes and give me a heart attack. And while I’m lying unconscious on the front porch, he is going to gnaw my fingers into little nubs. I know it with every fiber of my being.
Chelonaphobia: the completely irrational fear of turtles despite being infinitely bigger, taller, and quicker than them.