Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wait, Loss

I'm still thinking about Manuela, the pet red-footed tortoise who was found after 30 years. Seems her family was cleaning out their upstairs storage room this past January and took a bag of trash to the curb when a neighbor noticed Manuela, crawling around in an old box with a turntable to keep her company.

Never mind that all the online articles that reported this story referred to the reptile as both "he" and "she," or that this weird family had piled stuff in bags in 1982 and never touched them again, until now--what really matters is…what was Manuela thinking all that time? They surmised she survived on termites, but… did time go slow and floaty all lava lamplike? Or am I just thinking that because turtles seem to move and think in a way that one chelonian minute = one human hour? And OMG, not that she could exactly operate the turntable, but what 1 side of 1 album could YOU listen to for 30 years? (I love you, George, but what if you got stuck with, say, side 5 or 6 of "All Things Must Pass"? You'd have to listen to a crazy party over and over where you love all the guests but ultimately had to be there… But all you are is here…and "here" is in a box for 30 years…)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the turtles in the reservoir in Central Park, those red-eared sliders whom people buy as pets and then wind up dumping… They've been there, way down deep, all winter. Maybe they problem-solve and do a group turtle think, planning for the spring to come. Maybe they don't do much, softly jostled to awareness only if something juicy's happening on the roof…Like, did they hear the loafy, oafy echo echo echo of that buffoon who tried to walk across the not-frozen-all-the-way ice in early February? He fell through and a bunch of firemen had to come rescue him, as the rest of us who happened to be in the park that day watched… I wish all of them down there a safe journey back…or maybe it's the other way around--that being above the surface is the dreamier dreamworld.

Then, of course, there is the ain't-got-no-reservations, I'm-100%-happy-to-be Waiting, a la Elmer:


Does the 4 seconds he has to wait to have the ball thrown feel like 30 years? And if you felt such gloriously excellent in-the-moment expectation, would you mind waiting that long anyway?

Slow or fast, slow or fast. Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Then there's the waiting you hear wax-and-waning off Bryan Ferry's voice in this next one.. you know, the delicious histrionic kind from which tiny poems slip and drip and gasp…

Random P.S. Those reading who are looking for love, take note--don't discount the power of that song. This sucker lured me into a crappy relationship a long time ago that ended in 11 forgotten boa constrictors and being banned from using the bathroom and having to pee on the beach instead, made even more enjoyable with a UTI. Yup, that powerful. Good luck, and don't leave your snake at home. And for that matter, make sure you know where your turtle is.