As a bridgetender, I get to spend a great deal of time contemplating patience or the lack thereof. It continually astounds me how irritated people become when they’re held up by an opening bridge. The average opening is 4 ½ minutes long, and most commuters are well aware that a drawbridge is on their route, and therefore the possibility of a delay exists, and yet I still have the pleasure of watching their heads explode from sheer frustration several times a day. They curse. They shout. They throw things. They pound their steering wheels and beep their horns. And my drawbridge carries on.
Do snails ever get impatient? Are they resigned to their fate, or do they think they’re moving along at breakneck speed? I wish they could talk. I’d love to learn more about their attitudes about life.
Recently I came home to find a gorgeously striped one sitting on my doorstep. I’m a live and let live kind of person, so I bid him good day and gently stepped past him to get inside. I figured he’d move along eventually, and he did. I know some gardeners take a dim view of snails, but I think they have just as much right to eat as I do.
I’ve always been attracted to the unorthodox, or maybe it’s that I’m easily entertained, but when I found out that there’s a World Snail Racing Championship every July in Congham, England, I thought, “Okay, that goes on my bucket list, for sure.” It sounds like great fun.
As this race, the participating snails are arrayed along the inner circle of a wet cloth, and the first snail to touch the outer circle, about 13 inches away, is declared the winner. My goodness, that must be exciting to watch. The delayed gratification would have me biting my nails down to the quick.
One assumes that no snails are harmed during the course of this event, and that doping is not tolerated by the judges. But you never know. Scandals have been known to crop up in the most unusual places.
Another plus side to this event is it makes an excellent fundraiser. I’m kind of surprised that other communities haven’t adopted this sport. Snails come with their own safety equipment, so start up costs would be minimal.
Maybe you’ll see me at the races someday. My snail will have lightning bolts painted on his shell with orange nail polish, and he’ll answer to the name Scamper. That seems like a recipe for success to me.
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