When Labels Explode, or How I Fought the Turtle Whisperer

We all have that little voice in our head that tells us – warns us, when something isn’t right. It’s like life’s little warning label. Maybe women have it a little stronger, and that’s why they call it A Woman’s Intuition. It’s how we can feel when something has gone awry in a relationship and our SO is cheating on us. It’s just something that niggles at the edge of our brain and says “This isn’t adding up”.

More often than not, when we ignore it, it comes back to bite us in the ass.

My voice is actually pretty strong. In fact it’s probably the James Earl Jones of intuitive voices. I honed the ear for details long enough, and I while I may not recall to get butter after the fourth consecutive trip to the store, if you tell me you were married for 4 years and then later tell me it was from 1989 to 1997 my over analytic brain will register, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger”. Even my math skills aren’t that bad.

Nevertheless I ignore my voice from time to time. Sometimes I even strongly ignore it. I am worse than that kid who is plugging his ears, chanting, “I can’t hear yoooouuuuu!” until you want to smack him up side his precious little bean counting noggin.

I only ignore mine when it compromises something that is fun. And not even always then. Maybe its sex. Maybe sex isn’t anywhere around. It’s not always the opposite sex, but usually. It might be something slightly illicit. Maybe dangerous in a very non-dangerous way. The point is The Voice is a joykill. It wants to tell me something I don’t want to hear. It screams Common Sense, when all you want to hear is Wow, this is kind awesome!

Sometimes my voice will show me something that is sooooo glaringly obvious that I will simply refuse to accept it. Like a man who claims to be divorced who wears a wedding ring on his wedding finger, because this is a particular wedding-band-that-isn’t, and it just happens to fit better on that finger than it does any other, I buy into it.

Usually there are other signs. Like arguments. If I met a new person who was just a friend and they argued with me, or placed me in a situation that was argumentative, I would walk. My voice would tell me and I would listen. But not this time.

Sometimes it will ignore irratic behaviour that screams louder than a K-9 bark, “Drugs are in the building!!” when the behaviour can only be explained as drugged.

So what did you do last night?, you might ask.

I hate when turtles change colors.”might come the response.

What?” you say, completely confused, wondering if they answered back possibly in the wrong message window. You re-read the message again. Slower. And again.

“???”, comes back the response, making you feel like you made the stupid error.

No, what did you just say about turtles?” you say, trying to make sense of what is going on.

Why are you talking about turtles” they respond.

Then you spend the next 10 minutes trying to clarify it wasn’t you, until you wonder if maybe you really do hate when turtles change colors.

That’s the warning bell going off folks. That’s the time to quietly and calmly exit the building. Take all personal belongings and get the fuck out. Exit. Do not Enter.

Oh I might exit with the crowd alright. But come an hour, maybe 24, I might hear the Turtle Whisperer beckoning to me. I look around me, puzzled. “Me?” you think? You look around and notice no one else is there. Or paying attention. “We aren’t talking, remember?” you mouth back in an exaggerated whisper.

DO NOT ENTER is emblazoned in huge letters on yellow caution tape with a red circle around a Turtle and a Finger pointing straight up, and I think, just for a moment. I really do want to find out the validity in the turtle question.

But they continue to beckon, so with some very slight hesitation, I head back in. Ignoring the wedding ring, or the dates that don’t match, and I settle down for more crazy. I bypass the labels, the caution tape, and settle down for just a little bit more.

My friends are on the sidelines mouthing to me, Don’t Go! It’s a Trap! He’s a Loon!, but I only see mouths moving in overstated gestures. I go in anyway. Because THAT is how I stupidly roll.

This was the story of my life for the past – I don’t know … six weeks? A casual friend, who wooed me crazily as he jabbered on about proverbial turtles, and had me questioning the safety and sanity of everything normal. One day would be music and love (which sends another warning flag up — that one I DID heed) and the next would be absolute normalcy. You’d completely forget about the turtles. You’d forget about the ring that made no sense, or the dates that didn’t add up. You’d forget that every warning bell in your head was going off, and how labels were exploding like grenades.

Pretty soon you would start to question why there was ever caution tape to begin with. “He’s totally normal,” you say to yourself. Why I think I could really like this guy. Look, he brought flowers even! You get sucked up into the reality you want to believe.

Until one day, the most seemingly innocent thing happens, and the veil lifts. The bells that have been going off for weeks are jarring you. You don’t just see your friends with their mouths flapping silently, you hear their dire calls. And you grimace. You wonder HOW. How am I not seeing this? How are there little turtle carcasses everywhere, and you didn’t notice?

So you tell the man, you don’t want to play anymore. You don’t want this idiocy in your life anymore, and they don’t get it. “You loved my turtle stories before…” they start off stating. You tell them you don’t anymore. That it’s gotten even too bizarre for you. You take a deep breath and head for the door, certain you are okay with it this time.

Only they come back. This time without warning they tell you … “Do you know how much my dog loves to cook?” and you fly off the handle. You tell them you don’t give a flying fuck how much their dog loves to cook, or how turtles change colors, just go. Leave now. You sound spastic and exasperated, and then they say, “Anyone who doesn’t love my dog doesn’t love me!” and you almost — almost get sucked back in. By argument. You recognize this. You fell for it twice before. Instead you slowly back away and they ask you, why – why oh why do you have to be so mean?

Then the label explodes and the game is over.

turtle claw


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