Monday, June 04, 2007

these turtle games (are tearing me apart)*

So: the turtles in the hotel pool are messing with me.

Last Wednesday-Thursday (that mushy middle of the work week) I was waiting for a cab to take me from work to my physiotherapist. I sat down at the lip of the two-tiered turtle/koi pond in the lobby of the hotel when a group of children skated by. Look! They shouted, pointing at the water. They’re humping each other!

I twisted my head around to look. I assumed they were talking about the turtles and not the koi or a couple of humans who’d stumbled into the pond. The turtles were definitely not humping one another, but a small, light-shelled fellow had climbed on top of one the big ones, and from that elevated vantage he was staring me down.

It appears that after several months of being looked at by me, the turtles had decided to look back. Maybe they’d figured out that there was an entire world above the concrete lip, and they were taking stock to see if it was worth invading. Probably not. What does a hotel lobby have that a few turtles want? Aside from the lost & found box behind the front desk. And of course, the sweet taste of panic-flavoured human flesh.

Have you ever competed in a staring contest with a turtle? It’s a loser’s game. Even if the turtle turns its head, you can’t be sure that those jet beads aren’t still fixing you in their gaze. And when the turtle finally slides off his friend’s back and slides into the water, it’s not out of defeat. He’s simply toyed with you enough. Just long enough to make sure that everyone in the hotel lobby has witnessed you in a staring contest with a reptile.**

*Or: Turtle Games Will Tear Us Apart (Again)

**Or whatever those primordial creatures of armour and slime are.


Mr. Head said...

If they join forces with the fishy infidels of the briny deep we may have a real problem on our hands.
*envisions some sort of turtle tank with nematocysts and blowfish poison*
I'm beginning to think it's time for us mammals to seriously rethink allowing this situation to continue.
I, for one, will most definitely be having second helpings of Capt. Highliner tonight...

David Croft said...

These are not mere turtle games being played, but turtle geopolitics of the highest order. The turtle staring you down was obviously young King Yurtle, whose coming Dr. Seuss so famously prognosticated, and the shelled, shocked subject upon whose back the megolamaniac Yertle sat was just the base of what will be an ever-growing stack of turtles.

Mark my words.

palinode said...

Well fuck me.

J.C.Q. said...

“The turtles were definitely not humping one another . . . Maybe they’d figured out that there was an entire world above the concrete lip, and they were taking stock to see if it was worth invading. Probably not. What does a hotel lobby have that a few turtles want?”

I hilariously asked the same question two years ago on my blog. I am thrilled to know someone else finds the curious incident of the hotel turtles piling up on one another important enough warrant a blog post!

These were my thoughts on the situation, albeit not as eloquently and humourously put as yours:

Thursday, July 07, 2005
Obnoxious, obnoxious Turtles

There are four turtles at the Regina Inn beneath the escalators in their little fountain park. The turtles are always piled on top of each other and I don't know why. I have therefore come up with a list of explanations as to why these foolhardy turtles do this:

1- The turtles that are on top are extremely lazy
2- The turtles are drunk because someone poured vodka into the fountain
3- The turtles move so slowly that they don't even realize they're on someone's back
4- One turtle is re-shingling the back of the other turtle
5- Both turtles have a case of the shingles
6- The turtles are just really stupid
7- They don't understand yet how to have sex
8- The turtles on top are scared of the water
9- The turtles are trying deviously to take the escalators
10- The turtles are attempting to launch themselves on the backs of people with green shirts so they can get into the Casino Regina brunch for free and pig out before 2012.

Ayian said...

I have a few painted turtles in a pond just outside my house (or, rather, in the yard). They stare often, but our relationship goes hand in hand with the fact that when it rains I give them the pleasure of eating sidewalk worms. Turtles like worms.

It could be very well that the turtles are staring because you're staring and they want to be equally stubborn. Or something. Try feeding them a worm.

effective nancy said...

As a zookeeper, and one who works with a number of turtle species, I can assure you that if there is even one male turtle in a group, humping will occur. They are impressively horny animals. My colleagues pretend it is a dominance interaction, but seriously? Horniness.

It is important also not to discount the excellent eyesight of turtles, and the strong likelihood that they are aiming for a good vantage point from which to stare you into submission. Because that is a dominance interaction as well. And the turtles always win.