African Sulcata Giant Tortoises at the Linton Zoological Gardens, Cambridge, England/tigertailfood.com
At a Sierra Club Christmas party I met a woman who told me that she and her boyfriend have a pet ... tortoise.
They've had him (it's a "he") three years, and he has increased his girth from a three inch circumference to about the size of a dinner plate.
When he reaches adulthood, he'll be big enough to ride, she said.
To ride? Where would you ride a tortoise? To the Harris Teeter and back over the course of a week? Would you carry along a mini-refrigerator to store cold items?
On the other side of me at the nicely decorated table was a woman who had just come from the zoo after a long, circuitous route into the Tysons Corner jungle which carried her over two hours to Annandale before she could figure out where she was, having left her GPS at home.
"I'll never do that again," she said, "because once you're in a lane, you're in a lane forever, and there's no escape."
Don't we all know it, the pitiful who live at Tysons Corner and have to endure the mess? A dangerous mess.
The zoo lady took canvases to the zoo, she said, to get "animal art." Animals with painted feet walk on the canvases, and then she sells them to Sotheby's for $$$. (Just kidding about the Sotheby's part, but it makes good fodder and it's believable, isn't it? Modern art.)
What happens to their painted feet? "Oh, the paint just comes off," she said.
But back to the tortoise...his name is Livingstone (with emphasis on the last syllable (?), and yes, his name comes from the African explorer).
The owners "absolutely adore" him.
Yes, I guess so, if they've got a tortoise under roof!
Livingstone has his own personality (!), his own table/room (?; unclear) and free roam of their apartment. I didn't ask her, although I must say the thought occurred to me more than once, about uuuummmm, you know. Does the pet store have tortoise diapers? (Try Googling that. They're there!)
(Since her fiancé was absent from the party, one assumed he was safely at home tortoisesitting which is not far from "torturesitting." Hahaha.)
Do they take Livingstone on trips?
No, her boyfriend's parents have a big house and a separate room all fixed up for Livingstone who is moody and loves to eat lettuce. He is a vegetarian.
Join the throngs!
That's all I wanted for Christmas: another moody person/animal to live with. (Do plants have moods?)
It pays to get out.