I like living in Charleston. I really do. Except, well, sometimes things happen here that are un-friggin-natural. Case in point:
Yesterday was a long day teaching after a long week of same. So I spent much of my late afternoon plopped on the couch in my teachin’ uniform, playing Madden to unwind. Inspired at last to rouse from rest (I wanted to go buy the new Brandi Carlile album), I headed upstairs, tossed my Army garb on the bed, and retrieved some clothes wrapped unceremoniously around a bedpost. Included (’cause you shouldn’t leave home without ’em) was a pair of pants. I slipped it all on, headed out to the car, and started driving to the Big Box store.
A couple miles from the house, I felt a sort of itch. Um… down there. Groin area. Well, us fellas sometimes get these sorts of things (watch a baseball game), so I reached down to give a wee scratch to the inside of my thigh. As I pushed through the cloth, though, I realized that the reason I was feeling an itch there was because it wasn’t just pant and leg. There was something else there, too. I prodded around at it with my fingers — is it one of those dryer sheets? a hobbit sock? — and that’s when it twitched.
My fingers quickly enwrapped the offending and now earnestly wiggling object, and instinctively squeezed. For some reason the first thing that came to my mind was that I had a massive bug — lord knows why — in my pants. But, no, it was more solid than a bug would be. And squishy before crunchy rather than the buggy vice-versa. I stopped squeezing, at last recognizing that it was not a bug in my pants. It was a lizard.
I looked down, saw small circles of red blossoming through my pant leg.
I pulled over in the empty parking lot of a State Farm office. I wasn’t in a panic, mind you. Indeed, I think I was remarkably calm and controlled for a fellow with one hand in his lap gripping a no-longer twitching lizard about three inches from his Vital Bits (thank goodness I wasn’t going commando). Still, I wanted it out of there.
I got out of the car carefully, spread my stance to give the most direct path to ground I could, and then let go of the creature and shook my leg.
The lizard was a few inches long. I’ve no idea how it went undetected for so long. And it wasn’t dead, though I’m sure it wasn’t happy: the blood on my pants — not much, but still — wasn’t mine, and being manhandled near a fellow’s manhood must by definition be traumatic. But when I nudged it with my foot it ran off across the asphalt seemingly no worse for wear.
As I watched it go, I had but one thought in my mind: This doesn’t happen out West.
In subsequent news: Brenda Carlile’s album is terrific. I can give it no better review than to say that it’s totally worth the trauma of having a lizard down your pants en route to the store — though you might want to buy it online just the same.