Last week, I ran across a turtle as I was backing down my driveway. Let me rephrase that. I didn’t actually “run across” it. I saw it, a cute little boxy thing, very determined, and I admired his resolve, but he was going in the wrong direction. He was headed toward the street where his chances of being “run across” would have been exponentially increased, so I got out of my car, fetched my turtle hauling gloves (they’re also good for raking) and gave the turtle a lift.
I’m not new to turtle roadside assistance. I’ve carried these stranded non-motorists over curbs, given them a hands-on, high-flying (for a turtle) boost on their merry way.
This time, however, I doubled back down the driveway and deposited the turtle in my own backyard. Why? Because I know my turtle inclinations. My neighbors are all very nice people, but we haven’t had an in-depth turtle welfare discussion and I didn’t think 6 a.m. was the time to initiate such a conversation. The turtle would be happy in my backyard. I knew it.
I know a lot of things. Just ask me. I try not to be pushy about it. I try not to force my ideas on other people, but there are times when my ideas are good and theirs are…well, not. I can’t help that. And wouldn’t it be selfish of me to withhold my wisdom for the sake of a paltry thing like personal boundaries? Of course, it would.
Take the turtle for instance. Sure, I could have taken him across the street as was apparently his intention, but if he made it across the hot asphalt, where would he go? What would he eat? I had a full 5-foot view advantage. I could see what lay ahead. He couldn’t.
Of course, he didn’t take that into account as I carried him toward the backyard gate. He was in full turtle panic mode, his little legs flailing in midair even though I calmly explained my reasoning along the way.
I deposited the turtle under a delicious looking plant, then went about my non-turtle-hero business. Dry cleaners, grocery store, post office. As I stood in line with my credit card in hand, I began to think: My husband Harold has been the recipient of a lot of my better ideas through the years. So have my children, and they’ve done their own measure of flailing. “I just want what’s best for you,” I would wail, but sometimes it wasn’t enough.
You see, sometimes it turned out that I was wrong. I know, it surprised me, too, but the fact remains: I don’t know everything.
Maybe the turtle had been working hard, one stubby little step at a time, for six months to get to the middle of my driveway. Maybe there was to be a turtle family reunion in the across-the-street shrubbery, and now he’d have to turtle-gram ahead and say, “I hope to see you at Christmas.”
All because of me and my meddling.
When I got home, I took a big bunch of lettuce out to the spot where I had left the little turtle, but he was gone. Maybe he went over the wall–or under it–and found another route to his destination. Maybe he got picked up by some predator. Is there such a thing as a turtle hawk? I try not to think about it.
Is the turtle better off now? I don’t know.
I was just trying to help.