Thursday, June 17, 2010

Slow & Steady

A couple of Saturdays ago, I got a call from some of the funniest people I know to come meet them in line at Shake Shack, a popular (for good reason) burger place a couple blocks from where I live. I rushed right over.

We perched on a park bench near the Shack and ate our burgers while the sun shone down on us, and a small white dog stared at us. I think he was jealous. These are really good burgers. (And did someone say “Rootbeer float”? Yup.)

Afterwards, a walk around the block was in order to burn off some of those consumed calories. We were passing the south side of the American Museum of Natural History, discussing possible camping trips (yay) and planetarium trips (nay), when conversation was suddenly halted by a gigantic turtle.

Or tortoise, I should say, perhaps more correctly.

Strolling through the museum’s lawn next to us was a khaki-colored tortoise, roughly the size of a pudgy Cocker Spaniel. Or a small ottoman. Or a microwave oven. Just to give you a frame of reference.

We learned (via the museum caretaker accompanying him; the tortoise said little) that his name was “Mud,” and that he was eleven years old and weighed eighty pounds. Soon afterwards, Mud’s brother – “Hermes,” weighing in at seventy pounds – was wheeled out to the lawn and joined his brother for a little afternoon walkabout.

They were fascinating buggers. I could have watched them walk and eat grass for hours. I had no idea that things lived inside the Museum of Natural History – I thought it was all skeletons and stuffed animals (of the taxidermy - not teddy bear - type).  But apparently the herpetology department hosts live critters for observation and research.  Check out Hermes and Mud, making their way back home:

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