September 12, 2018

the suicidal toad

Yesterday was The Kid's first day driving.  I made him drive us home from his dad's house along a stretch of reliably uneventful interstate last night, in the dark.  I'm mean.

He drove up our long, steep-hill driveway and parked at the top, because I am the only person (says me) allowed to pull the RAV4 into the far garage bay.  I kicked him out of the driver's seat and was about to maneuver into the garage when he pointed at something and motioned for me to stop.

A largish toad had just hopped into the garage.

A toad that was sitting neatly on the tire tracks of where I pull in, a toad that would have imminently been listed as today's special on the Roadkill Cafe menu.  I parked and got out and used a broom to try to swat the it out of the garage and away into the summer night.

The toad fled its corner and jumped over a loaded mouse trap, very nearly tripping it.  It landed behind a large spray canister of potent pest control poison, the kind we're really not supposed to own as mere mortal consumers.  While it rested there to consider its next move, a large tire iron chose that moment to fall and clatter onto the concrete floor and came within an inch of toad-bashing.

I'm surprised it didn't hop onto a rake and get smacked in the face by the suddenly vertical handle.

The toad has gone off into the wide world, where it will, if it isn't first hit by a car, eaten by a dog, or struck by lightning in two days' time, encounter a frog-strangler tropical storm.

Is a suicidal toad in a hurricane the same thing as a frog in a blender?

The winds have already begun here, far inland in the Piedmont of North Carolina, and the source of the wind is the breath of Southern women.  Hurricane Florence, and all her predecessors, must be discussed in full detail.  It is a ritual as time-honored as funeral food and shaking out rugs on the front porch, one that I'm willing to bet is practiced in every place on the planet, by all peoples, anywhere storms go.

My co-workers have been sitting in a circle and discussing the storms here in the last fifty years, what the forecasts are saying about Florence, whose niece is evacuating and what the dog has to say about it.  They've been at it for an hour.  They're worse than an installation of old men playing checkers in the back of a general store.  In due course, the conversation will turn to the effects of barometric pressure drops on various aching joints.

I keep excusing myself to go to the restroom.  PMS and external agitation aren't best friends.

We at Chez Sparven are prepared.  We have a few gallons of gas for our tiny Honda 2000 generator, powerful enough to keep the essentials going (the Keurig, the cable modem, a few energy-efficient laptops, and The Kid's phone charger).  We have non-refrigerated food (yes, I caved in and got the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, just shut up).  We have drinking water put away for ourselves and for the dogs.  It's possible none of this is needed, but I think we're reacting just right, not ignoring things but not buying out an entire grocery store and building a bunker filled with potable water and canned bacon.

Not that there's anything wrong with canned bacon.  Or any bacon.

It's funny how animals know.  Before we had reliable weather forecasting, people paid attention to the behavior of wild creatures and of their own domesticated animals, and reacted accordingly.  There's a storm a'comin'.

Now I feel guilty because maybe the suicidal toad was simply seeking shelter and wasn't suicidal at all.  It was just completely unaware that living in our garage would make it a Severely Endangered Toad.

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