Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Love's Slow Mosey: A Completely Fictional Tortoise Tail

Once upon a time, in a land very far from here, there lived a quirky, uniquely attractive, often contrary, and singularly single tortoise named Lola.  At 72, she was just entering her prime and possessed a genuine lust for life and the hope that, despite her several flaws, she would one day find the love that she had touched briefly, yet passionately, in the mysterious world of her dreams.

Love in Lola's dreams came complete with an intelligent and pampering paramour with a beautiful, yet rugged shell and strong, yet tender feet.  He could make her laugh, oh how he could make her laugh.  His wit and charm were his most gorgeous features.  He liked all of the things that man-tortoises were supposed to like, such as waxing his shell, drinking fermented berry juice, and playing fantasy shell ball.  Lola did not bother with tortoises that did not fit his description.  Her unwavering stance on this left her very lonely, extremely discouraged and more than a little exasperated.

Every day she planned how she would meet Mr. Dreamy.  She would often go "shell shopping," as she liked to call it.  Though it seemed to Lola to be an exercise in futility, it was an exercise she refused to relinquish. Each time she stepped out of her nest and headed for one of the many establishments purported to be heavily occupied by the male of her species, she did so with hope and anticipation that this would be the trip that would make all the others worth the effort.

But each trip was a cookie-cutter version of the last.  "Why are all the single tortoises so dopey and unworthy of my efforts?", she wondered.  If one turtle had a nice beak, he had wimpy feet. If he had nice feet, he could barely organize a complete sentence.  If he was intelligent and witty, he seemed to be in need of a 12 step program to deal with his apparent overuse of the food supply.

Why, oh why couldn't she find a man-tortoise who measured up to her specific, yet reasonable, standards?

On a particular Saturday in early spring, her sister Rose called to chat, as she did nearly every day.  But this call took a surprising turn.  Quite unexpectedly, Rose put Lola on the phone with Rose's old friend Burt.  Rose had been trying to arrange a date for Lola and Burt for a nearly a year, but something always seemed to come up, and frankly, Lola just wasn’t comfortable with the whole idea anyway.  In fact, this particular night, when Burt asked her out for coffee, Lola cringed just a little, dreading the awkward evening to come.  Don't get me wrong, she had always thought Burt to be handsome and sweet, but she was pretty sure he wasn't her type.

Much to Lola's surprise and delight, she enjoyed her short date with Burt and was happy when he asked her if they could meet again the very next day.  After their next get-together, to her great joy, she realized that his many unique interests were undeniably more attractive to her than the stereotypical prerequisites that only the day before she had held so dear.

Lola suddenly found herself spending an unsettling amount of her time thinking of Burt and their date.  To get him off of her mind, she began the task of cynically analyzing the likely outcome of the situation.  She made a mental list of their obvious incompatibilities and added to that all of the ways that she could end up looking like an ass (to tortoises, donkeys are thought to look rather foolish) if she allowed herself to crush on Burt only to find out that the attraction wasn't shared.

But Lola's large, steady, stubborn heart was dead set on staying the course.  Her logic and reason could not convince her that this trip into the unknown wasn't worth the risks.  Only time knows what became of Lola and Burt, but one thing is certain: Lola had found the courage to be vulnerable and, at least for a while, to bask in the exciting glow of life outside of her shell.


  1. My mom finally read my blog for the first time today. She sent me a very sweet email in response. Part of her e-mail was this great story of how she made a spontaneous date and it was too good to keep to myself! Enjoy.

    "This little trick, though honest and unthought out, gave me my only spontaneous date (well, it was only lunch, actually). I was shopping in a department store in Chattanooga, standing near a mannikin. The mannikin moved and I about dropped my teeth, sucking in air at high velocity in my startledness. 'Oh, I'm sorry,' said the mannikin. After just staring at him a bit (he wasn't all that, I was just surprised) I said, 'No, I'm sorry, I just thought you were a dummy' (which was an unfortunate choice of words, and totally unintentional). And he said, 'I might be a dummy.' Where upon he asked if I'd like to have lunch with him. We did. No shooting stars, music, or fireworks. It didn't 'take' in my case but you're welcome to use it. Love you! Mama"

  2. Seems like things aren't going so well? Why no recent updates?