My husband and I are polar opposites in every imaginable way so it’s no surprise that we also disagree on the best way to handle rogue insects. Typically, I’m a catch and release person and he’s a scream and smash person. I grew up playing with bugs so even though they’re not like my favorite creatures on earth I feel like the bugs and me have some unspoken mutual respect (except for the scorpions and black widows who clearly stalk me but that’s another story) and he is scared of them.
Being the “creative one” in our marriage, i.e. “the weird one” according to my husband, I’m usually the one who creates narratives for everything in the world. Every object in our house and everything I come into contact with has a backstory. Our plant, Margo, overcame her fertilizer addiction after she found The Green King. Our dog’s mom, Sheena, spent her early years in a trailer park retirement community in the south of Italy where she perfected the Virginia Slim chain smoke and acquired a large collection of bedazzled scrunchies. My husband is “the practical one” as he so proudly refers to himself.
This is not the case with snails though, apparently.
Our neighborhood is full of park strip gardens. It doesn’t really make sense. They’re technically the city’s land but we’re supposed to take care of it (nice loophole, city!) and therefore able to take liberty with the property that we don’t actually own. Many of our neighbors turn that area into a garden where they grow everything from tomatoes to squash which is a super smart use of the space. And while I personally have no current plans to plant a garden in ours on account of the feral cats and indiscriminate dogs, I love admiring everyone else’s’. The gardens also create little urban ecosystems that I can use to teach my toddler about food and bugs and sustainability, you know, all of the things that he doesn’t care about at all. The last time I showed him a grasshopper he just pointed at it and said, “food.” And I was like, yeah, in some places. Not here. Let’s revisit this later. Among the zuccini and grasshoppers you can also find a BAJILLION snails. So, so, so many snails, slowly making their way across the sidewalk from point A to point B while we try to navigate a stroller or a bike or a toddler who thinks all things should be eaten. I typically move the snails so we don’t squish them.
A few days ago, we were riding bikes, my tot securely on my bike and my husband riding next to us, when we saw what seemed to be a mass snail migration from one side of the street from another. Half of them had been squished and the other half inching by in sight of their fallen friends. I stopped the bike, and started to move them while explaining to my kiddo what I was doing.
Me: Mamma is moving these because they’re probably traumatized after watching their friends get smushed. Or their siblings. Cousins?
Husband: You shouldn’t do that. Just leave them.
Me: To get smushed? No way. That’s just sad.
Husband: They’ve been trying to go somewhere probably for hours or days or even weeks and you’re totally messing up their journey.
Me: Listen, their journey is already messed up. They just saw half of their gang mutilated in front of them. Their journey is fucked. They probably want to turn back but they just don’t know how because they don’t want to return home to their village and admit failure. But what they don’t realize is that nobody wanted them to go on the quest in the first place.
Husband: [Giving me a look] Right. You’re setting them back weeks. You’re fucking up their plans and their day. Seriously, just put them down.
Husband: Fine, ruin their mission.
Me: Oh I will. I am.
I moved the snails and thought about the important snail trip that I allegedly put a damper on. I’m not used to my husband having much of an imagination (he doesn’t even like to talk about the future because it’s not “today” which is infuriating by the way) so it was kind of nice to get a little glimpse of what “non practical” things might be ticking inside of his head under those tamed curls and slightly tanned olive skin. I couldn’t help but wonder, was he right? Where were the snails going?
I like to think that they’d packed up and set out for a family vacation near the gutter, for swimming, under a nice Aspen tree for shade. Then The Big Smash came setting them on a new course of fury, emotional healing, and vengeance. Like Turbo meets John Wick (which I’ve never seen because I heard a puppy dies at some point and no).