Yesterday afternoon I had to make a quick trip to the post office. As I turned the corner nearest my house, a tiny brown head popped up at the corner of the windshield, quickly followed by the rest of a panicky lizard. Having Googled lizard coloration after witnessing an Anole lizard fight recently, I knew that the colors of this one indicated an extremely high stress level. No $hi#! How would you like to be resting peacefully in a shaded carport, then suddenly find yourself hanging onto the outside of a moving vehicle?
It was 102° here yesterday afternoon and much hotter than that, I'm sure, on the surface of my car. But I was stuck on a narrow, two-lane road, deep ditches on either side, and knew that if I pulled into someone's driveway, I'd have a heck of a time backing out into the steady flow of traffic. So I kept moving.
The lizard held on, all the while bobbing and weaving and crawling back and forth across the windshield. Sometimes it appeared to be staring in at me, though the truth is it was probably just looking into the shaded interior and trying to find a way to get inside.
Half a mile down the road, I pulled into the parking lot of a small church, stopped the car, and got out with my stamped mortgage payment in my hand to use as a prod. I tried to slide the envelope under the lizard so I could lower it gently to the ground, but the lizard just scooted over a few inches. I tried again and got the same results. By that time the lizard was hanging on at the very edge of the windshield, so I walked around the car, slid the envelope toward it again, and it jumped off onto the ground. People, I actually heard myself saying out loud, "Good job, buddy!"
Then it ran under the car. Great! Not only was I abandoning it far away from home (in lizard-miles); now there was a good chance of running over it. I looked under the car but couldn't see it in the shadows, so I finally got in, drove forward slowly and carefully, made a U-turn in the parking lot, and went on to the post office.
There was a time I wouldn't have cared about the life of one small lizard, but I've gotten in the habit of shooing them higher up the fence so Gimpy can't get them, and I think I may have crossed some kind of line. All I know is I'm feeling guilty this morning for not turning around yesterday and driving that hitchhiker lizard home.
If I ever start feeling sentimental about spiders and bugs (ladybugs being the exception), please have me committed.