Recently, a teacher in our district abruptly resigned her position. Somehow, her resignation led to my current possession of a tortoise named Big Al. Yeah, Big Al, this one is for you. Since you won’t stop fucking staring at me right now … I am dedicating a post to you. Please stop creeping on me after I publish this post, you scaly little bastard. If you like me on facebook over at Not Appropriate Angela, you know that this tortoise has been the bane of my existence since yesterday afternoon.
Big Al was housed in the classroom of the recently resigned educator. As her employment ended rather hastily, there were piles of ungraded papers left behind … and a tortoise that had been given to her via some educator grant or similar donor. After she left, our entire staff received a mass e-mail stating that Big Al needed to find a new home, and it needed to be somewhere NOT in the current building. The district wasn’t playing; he had about a week to find a different residence.
Well, you know I’m a sucker for misfits of all sorts – but I also am totally creeped out by most reptiles. I am terrified of snakes, lizards, and those big dinosaur looking snapping turtle mother fuckers. One time I encountered a snapping turtle on the road and it had all sorts of crazy scary spikes on his shell – like Bowser from Super Mario. I ran like the wind away from that bastard. Don’t judge; turtles are much faster than one would imagine. I might have also screamed like a banshee, but I don’t remember because my mind blocked out most of this horrifying encounter.
I was torn. I wanted to rescue the tortoise, but also dreaded him. Therefore, I got my husband involved, and he agreed to house Big Al in his classroom. However, my husband does not work in a traditional school. He teaches at a juvenile correctional facility – that’s a fancy way of saying “kid prison.” His students are all criminals – and not “I stole a Gameboy and my mom is trying to straighten me out” criminals; there’s some “I stabbed my pregnant girlfriend to death” criminals there – really. It’s a rough environment, but my husband has the perfect temperament for dealing with such students.
As they are locked up when not in class or counseling, the students aren’t witness to much wildlife. One time they found a frog while being escorted between their quarters and the school, and they were thrilled to have it in the classroom – until it died three days later. I should add that it died of its own accord; no one shanked the frog or stabbed it with a pencil (although one of these same students had earlier stabbed a staff member in the throat with a pencil).
I thought the tortoise would be beneficial for this particular group of students, and both my husband and his boss agreed. The tortoise and those students share much in common – both have hard shells, and most were born into this rough exterior. My husband picked up Big Al yesterday, ready to transport him to his building. Then, he realized that Big Al’s home was a very large glass terrarium, and this is a problem. This is a problem because glass is not allowed at this school due to its potential to be shattered and used as a weapon.
Sam called his boss, and she told him to take the tortoise home for the weekend until she talked to the head of building security. He was told he should be able to bring him in Monday, and I sure to shit hope that is true because this fucking tortoise keeps on staring at me while I write. Furthermore, while I usually wish for the weekends to last forever, I’m actually looking forward to the week just to get this damn tortoise off my kitchen counter.
Last night, while I was attempting to write, he repeatedly banged his head into one tiny area of the cage. He may have issues. This is just one more commonality he would have with those students. He would genuinely be wholly advantageous for these youth – who generally committed crimes because they never really had a chance. But, he is NOT good for me – tortoise is creeping me the fuck out.
Okay, Big Al, are you happy now? I wrote a whole page for you! I even praised you. I’m sure you’re actually quite a respectable reptile, but you do not belong on my kitchen counter. You need to go because it’s never a good thing when I need to take an extra clonazepam (anxiety medication) because I got a tortoise creeping on me in my own home. I know, I know, Big Al, it’s my own propensity for saving others that led to you looking at me right now. But I saved you, so show some damn gratitude and quit staring at me tortoise.