Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I was 16, full of piss and vinegar, all decked out in my punk rock finery and headed to NYC on the bus from the suburbs where I grew up.

I had a few dollars in my pocket that I intended to spend it on the latest import singles from the U.K.

She was sitting across the aisle from me with a small bucket. I asked her what was in there. "Turtles" she said. Turtles? Yes, two midsize turtles. She said they both needed new homes because her mom didn't want them in the house. So, I took one.

She told me they must be hydrated and can only be out of water for up to 6 hours at a time. I told her it would be no problem. I was just going to buy a few discs and head home.

I went shopping, turtle in pocket and got the latest and greatest punk imports and a copy of the New Musical Express. As I went to take the subway back to the Port Authority bus station I reached in my pocket, found a turtle, and no money.

I had $10 set aside for the trip home, it was gone. The clock was ticking. I had no idea what to do.

I did what I had to do. With cup in one hand and turtle in the other I started panhandleing for money. "Please, my turtle has only 3 hours to live, I have to get him home. Please give if you can." Ninety minutes later, I had the fare home. The turtle looked weak.

It was a race against time. The bus pulled into town. I ran home. I filled the tub, dunked the turtle, put on the new Clash records I bought and went home with the lesson of what its like to be poor, homeless, and wed to a turtle.