I’d just picked up Mother from her daily very local shopping trip. About four times each year she has bouts of car sickness. This was one of them.
She was giving into it with all her tiny little body could give it.
Which means she looked like she was clinging just this side of the pearly gates.
“Hurry up and get home,” she managed to mumble through her self enforced burps.
Five minutes away and at the four way stop just entering the neighborhood, a cable guy’s truck was smack dab in the middle of the intersection. The tall, lithe, thirty something driver was exiting his driver side door.
“Go around him,’ Mother said, from underneath her half closed eyelids.
Just as I was doing as she bid, I saw what was happening.
The driver had walked over to within about 2 feet of one the biggest turtles I’ve seen in a while. She was at least a foot from the long end of her shell to the other long end.
I thought she might be dead.
All of her was tucked into her shell.
As the cable guy went over and tapped her, he looked at me and shrugged. (I had stopped my car by this time and we were now blocking the entire intersection.) He tapped her again and she lifted that shell off the ground a good 3 inches. She started running her turtle legs at full speed, in the wrong direction. At least it was not in the direction Cable guy wanted her to run. Cable guy, rather than pick her up, hesitantly, started doing sort of a little soccer action on her, tapping her from one side to another with his feet. Sort of like kids do when they first start learning to dribble a soccer ball in kindergarten.
“Why doesn’t he just pick the turtle up and move her off the road,” Mother said, echoing my own wonderment.
I didn’t want to say what it looked like. I thought he looked a bit like he was scared of her. Or even worse, he didn’t want to get his hands dirty.
“He’s a cute guy,” Mother said, wincing as she remembered she was sick. “Just pick the dang thing up.” she finished and put her chin into her chest and let out a loud burp.
By this time two other cars had stopped and the driver in the front one jumped out and headed for the commotion.
I think the cable guy saw her coming in slow motion.
She looked about his age, brown, full shoulder length hair. She had long, athletic legs all shown off in quite decent short shorts. She was not skinny, but fit and shapely. She was driving a jeep.
Cable guy’s tactics changed a bit. He was still ineptly dribbling the turtle but had now added a sort of desperate dialogue of explanation to Jeep girl. Jeep girl listened and watched for about 30 seconds. She had the same quizzical expression on her face that said she was wondering the same thing we had. Finally, realizing that the bad dribbling was his only plan, she maneuvered around him and picked up the turtle. Another verbal exchange between them, some head shaking, and she headed for her jeep, lifting up her leg to hold the door that she had opened with her pinky while she held the turtle. Cable guy ran to move his truck out of the way. He was sprinting back to her as I moved the car past them. He did not want to let this one get away.
“You think he was scared of it.” Mother said, a bit flummoxed, and then: “She’s pretty cute isn’t she? What are you smiling at, Jan?”
“I guess we have to give him points for at least having the heart to want to save the thing.”
But what I was actually thinking was while I believe some things will never change between the sexes, some have. So men let me provide you with a little insight. We women, with years of practical experience in solving problems on our own, for whatever reasons, we still want the knight on the white horse (that happens to be one of the things that I think will never change). But if he doesn’t show up or is slow to do so, these days we take matters into our own hands. The freedom to show what we can do and do it, is no longer tempered by the social etiquette of my mother’s generation.
Pick up the damn turtle, young men.
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