Tortoise Trickery Followed by
A Wild Goose Chase
Tortoise ownership is usually pretty unexciting. Speedy Gonzalez has been in our family for about thirty years, a birthday present for our youngest son at about 5 years of age. Speedy requires very little care: water, fruit and lettuce and a dry, dark box in fall and winter for hibernation. He nibbles on leaves and grass in our backyard. An independent soul, he doesn't wag his tail when I approach or seek affection, though he sometimes will accept food from my hand. On hot days, though, we must keep an eye on him as he becomes restless (hence his name), circling around the yard and pulling himself up the low step to get in the house. His preference is a corner in our bedroom under the radiator – which is where I found him this morning. Dirty footprints on our rug gave him away. I don’t mind him spending the night with us. He’s quiet as a…well, a tortoise. I gently scolded him and put him out in the morning sun.
That done, I headed to the metro to do two errands: buy airline tickets to NY to see our son’s graduation ceremony at Columbia and buy medicine imported from the U.S. , all of which took me about three hours and miles of walking. My credit card (hardly ever use it) couldn't cover the amount of the tickets, requiring a five block walk to the bank to withdraw the cash to cover the difference, followed by a walk back to the airline office, followed by a trek to the office in a medical building to buy the medicine. They’d run out of it. Then back to the metro and the four block walk under a hot late summer sun to my house, where I arrived tired, sweaty and hungry. Before eating, I took some lettuce leaves out to Speedy, which he snubbed. My son thinks we should take Speedy to a vet for a check-up after all these years. I wonder where I can find a tortoise vet.