I’ve been to Florida dozens of times. Whether I’m there for business or pleasure, in Tallahassee or Key West, sunning on the beach or locked in a dimly-lit conference room, one thing has remained the same all these years – I am perpetually looking for alligators.
I picture them there, in roadside ditches and runoff ponds, lurking just out of view. THIS IS THE TRIP, I say to myself, my eyeballs meticulously scanning the drainage ditches near the airport. I WILL see a gator in the wild!
When Corey embarked on our most recent trip to Sanibel, I had higher hopes than usual. We would be on an island! They have an awesome wildlife refuge! Gators love that stuff! This was it – my childhood wish would finally become something real.
The wildlife refuge was an alligator’s dream (or what I imagine a gator’s dream to be – unless that dream is snapping at unsuspecting tourists). Mangrove trees meshed their long-limbed trunks together to form shelter for fishing crabs, raccoons, bobcats, snakes, and a cornucopia of birds and fish. And, supposedly, alligators. Corey and I saw crabs. Fish jumping out of the water at dizzying heights. A raccoon lunching by the side of the road. We even saw bobcat poop. But did we see one stinking alligator? Nope. Nary a footprint or a glimpse of a swishing tail. Once again, the gators had eluded me.
On our sad drive back to the hotel, we passed this sign:
But did I SEE an owl? Did any flying thing bring me an acceptance letter to Hogwarts? No! I’ve had it with the entire state. KEEP YOUR DAMN PROMISES, FLORIDA! If you post an alligator warning sign, then you are obligated to procure me a gator. If you warn me of flying owls, I must be greeted by Hedwig! Anything less is unacceptable, because you have led me on for years and I have had enough. Enough!
Corey says next time he’ll take me to the Everglades. But I’m so fed up with Florida that a fan boat ride might not be enough. Bring me the Skunk Ape!