Lifestyle

Lost in Suburbia: Yield to slow moving vehicles

Tracy Beckerman More Content Now
Posted: Jul. 24, 2019 9:30 am

Unlike the suburbs, most of the wild creatures you encounter in the city are of the two-legged variety. However, before we moved back into the city, I’d certainly had my share of suburban animal encounters. We had squirrels and chipmunks, raccoons and skunks, and woodchucks and groundhogs, which, I’m told, are the same thing except the groundhog gets a holiday named after him while the woodchuck only gets asked the question, “Dude, how much wood can you chuck?”

We also had lots of deer, an occasional fox, and once or twice, someone claimed to have seen a bear although it was more likely that the “bear” was actually a very large version of the aforementioned groundhog.

Anyway, I didn’t exactly live in the jungle, but I thought I had enough colorful animals to contend with … until I went to visit some friends in Florida.

“What’s the delay?” I asked my Uber driver as we stopped in the middle of the road on my way to meet my friends for dinner. I looked around. There was no stop light, no stop sign and no traffic.

“There’s an animal in the road,” he said matter-of-factly.

“A live animal or a dead animal?” I asked, craning my neck to see what was in front of him.

“A live one,” he replied.

“Can you hurry it along somehow?” I asked. “I have a dinner reservation.”

“Nope,” he said.

“Why?”

“’Cuz I don’t want to get eaten,” he said.

I was stunned. What could possibly be out there that moved really slowly and also was a dangerous man-eating, or rather Uber driver-consuming animal?

The driver put the car in reverse and backed up 10 feet. As he moved, I saw the animal in question come into view.

There, in the middle of the road, in no hurry at all, was a very big, very scary looking, alligator.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “What are we going to do?”

“We’re gonna wait,” he said, and put the car in park.

I was shocked. But apparently, this was a thing here. The hotel where I was staying was part of a golf resort. In Florida, it’s not uncommon for an alligator or seven to hang out on a golf course. They don’t play, of course, but they do like to sun themselves on the green and take a swim in the penalty areas (also known as lakes or ponds for those of you who are golf-illiterate).

Occasionally, to get from one penalty area to another, the alligators cross the road. Or in this case, start to cross the road, and then stop. It became clear to me, the alligator novice, that alligators, when not in search of food, do not move particularly quickly. Even if you give them a mulligan.

My shock soon turned to impatience when I realized that there were no other ways out of the resort and I was going to be late for dinner.

“First alligator?” He asked me.

“Yes,” I replied. “We don’t have this problem in New York.”

“You know why?”

“No. Why?” I asked him back.

“Cuz all the alligators in New York live in the sewers.”
For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage and on Twitter at @TracyBeckerman.

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