A free vaudeville show for my long drive to work

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

Sometimes, the last thing anyone wants to do in the morning is drive to work. Even if, like us, you only live a few miles away. No matter the distance, driving to work can be a real pain in the behind, and unless you have something else to do, very boring.

As I drove to work this morning, I had no reason to fear boredom, for I soon discovered that I had front row seats to my own traveling road show.

Now I don’t know where this vaudeville trio came from originally, but they woke up this morning on the hood of my car. And I, in my utterly unbeknownst condition, did not notice they were camped on the hood of the car until after I had hit the road.

Just moments after making the turn onto Key Deer Blvd. to begin that everlasting three-mile trip to the light, I discovered a trio of geckos running around on the hood.

Now the car hadn’t been driven in a  couple of days, so I don’t imagine it was the heat that drew our lizard friends. They must have just liked the color or some such.

Whatever the reason, these three were quite animated. There was one, much larger than the rest, that kept running from headlights to window. If there were such a thing, I might have thought he was in training for gecko football, doing a few wind sprints.

The smallest of the three may have been practicing to be an earring, because he just kept a grip on the edge of the headlight frame and stood facing the wind. But then, perhaps he was a wing walker in training. Every few feet he would side step to another part of the frame, hence probably more reason to believe the wing walker theory.

The third member of the trio, of medium size and light coloration, must have been practicing some form of car hood extreme skiing. With each movement, our fearless gecko would loosen his grip and slide nearly uncontrollably across the polished surface of the paint.

I watched the show in some awe for a couple of minutes, glanced away to check traffic at the intersection with Watson, and turned back to the front just in time to see my wing walker lose his valiant fight against the raging wind. His flailing limbs were slashed by the 30-mile-per-hour winds coming from the car hood and he shot past the rolled up window, soon becoming lost to view as his wind-torn body presumable fell slowly to Earth. I was unable to ascertain his fate.

As I hit the stretch in front of Watson Field, I must have hit a bump just right, the timing superb. My windsurfing lizard lost his traction on the car paint, bounced once in an upside down position, and was blown back over the hood of the car, past the windshield and across the roof. This theatrical gecko was lost to my sight quickly as well, but as he passed across the plane of my sight up the windshield, I could swear he was holding a swan-dive position. Though I did not see his descent to Earth, I have a feeling the prognosis was a good one.

My third and final performing gecko continued to dash in wind sprints for another mile or so. Running first into the wind, then with the wind, back and forth from front to back of the car hood.

He might have stayed with me all the way to the light had I not had to brake for a slow-moving vehicle. When I pressed the  brake pedal, my valiant sprinter must have lost his footing. He tried in vain to regain his composure, but became caught in the side draft of the breeze blowing across the hood, and like a swimmer caught in a rip tide, was pushed inexorably off the side of the hood. Once he hit the curve leading to the fender, he was lost and he teetered for just a moment before gathering his legs underneath him and leaping into the wind.

He flew rapidly past my driver-side window as his partner had minutes earlier, spread out, with his limbs reaching as though trying to emulate a skydiver on Earthly descent.

Alas, my valiant lizard was lost to sight all too quickly as the wind rushed past the vehicle, and the last I saw of him his tiny bugged eyes were staring at me through the glass.

Seconds later, I hit the brakes again for the light. Just out of curiosity I turned in the seat to see if any of the three had managed to catch a foothold on the rear portions of the car, but they had not.

My vaudeville trio, my companions across the creeping three miles of Key Deer Blvd., were indeed gone, whisked away by the unmerciful wind.

My only thoughts were that their seemingly unique abilities had kept them safe from harm, and that the cars behind me didn’t have new lizard-gut decorations on their tires.

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