Tuesday, April 25, 2006Poor Turtle
I'm a turtle rescuer; I rescue turtles.* You know, like how they move out onto the road to bask in the sun? Well, I generally pull over and move them to a safe spot if there's one nearby, or if there's not I've been known to take small ones back to the property here and find 'em a nice sunny rock to sit on. It's a mild superstition I picked up years ago after I just barely avoided what could've been a bad car accident about an hour after having rescued my first turtle (for no reason other than it seemed to be the right thing to do.) It's a simple way to earn myself a little extra karma, and I've met quite a few turtles this way.
Today, just now, I saw my first road-bound turtle of the year. I whizzed by him too fast to pull over on the first pass, so I pulled into a driveway and, after waiting for a few slow-moving cars to pass, turned around and went back. The closest place to pull over was a church parking lot about a hundred feet away -- I stopped and headed over to him, and I was within ten feet when... can you guess what happened next?
A minivan came over the hill and ran my turtle over; he burst with a sickening crunch. Right there in front of me. I was so close.
That's the first one I've ever lost. The worst part is, the turtle was in the middle of the lane, and there weren't any other obstacles or cars around -- in order to run him over, the minivan would've had to aim for him, and there was really no other reason to have hit him. Cruel bastards.
A similar thing happened a few years ago in an incident that still makes me clench my jaw if I think about it for long. I was driving the same road, although further up, when a duck waddled into the road from a nearby pond. There wasn't anyone immediately behind me or around me, so I slowed down and edged around him. Then, fifty feet or so back, a red pickup truck aimed straight for him and ran the front, passenger-side wheel right across his back. I can still see the image of his head and neck sticking up from his crushed body in my rear-view mirror. But here's the part that infuriates me: the driver of the truck sped up and pulled alongside me, leaned across, and gave me this evil fucking grin -- he'd done it on purpose, just to piss me off. He'd killed that duck maliciously for my benefit. There was a little boy sitting in the passenger seat looking bewildered. I was so angry I had to pull over.
I know that animals aren't valued very highly around here, and I can't profess to be much better than these assholes -- I eat meat, I eat battery-farmed chicken, and I know that what goes into it is no better (probably even worse) than this. It was just a turtle, and just a duck. And animals that wander into roads stand a strong chance of getting hit, maliciously or otherwise.
But some people are just fucking evil.
* I know they're really tortoises -- don't be so pedantic. |