My daughter is driving to Pacific Palisades with me and her friend, Priya, who’s visiting from Hastings-on-Husdon, New York.
“Look, Mom,” she says. “There’s a praying mantis on our windshield!”
Monty the Mini Mantis is clinging to the windshield for dear life and has flattened his body against the glass. One of his back legs flails arthritically in the wind.
“I never saw a creature capable of touching its ass to its head.” I say with great admiration. “That’s commendable.”
“I love Monty,” my daughter exclaims. “I hope he hangs on. I’m getting kind of attached to him.”
I refrain from reminding her that Mini Monty is not one of the glamorous green mantids. In fact, he’s rather homely–an indistinguishable beige, probably a youngster, with the bulk of his 10 month life ahead of him.
“Mom,” my sweet girl declares, as if reading my innermost thoughts, “I think Monty’s a teenager. When we get to the Palisades, we have to take him off the windshield and let him loose in the grass.”
I’m secretly hoping that Priya the New Yorker is busy texting her mother from the back seat. But with my luck, she is no doubt listening to our conversation in disbelief. And texting her mother about what a crazy pair of Californians my daughter and I are.
After I drop the girls off in the Palisades, I head home with Monty still in tow. How could I not return Mini Monty to his family back at my house in Topanga? Oh, it was touch and go for a moment as I turned onto the Boulevard. Monty did a bit of a back flip, but demonstrating a reservoir of super mantis strength, he managed to right himself just before we hit the s-curves.
Once home, I picked Monty the Mini Mantis off the windshield and watched as he hopped into the Cistus (rock rose). I like to imagine Monty sitting around a leafy dinner table with the ‘rents, scarfing down a spider or two and texting all his buddies about his big adventure. It’s the little things in life that bring pleasure.
A New Yorker would never write about the little things so optimistically. If this was an East Coast blog, sarcasm or cynicism or an untimely–if not gruesome– doom would likely be involved. Californians are too sunny and Texans are too perky for this–too much room in those big ol’ states for anything less. I’m a hybrid of both–a Texafornian–so sarcasm goes right over my head. I have to get my New Jersey friends explain it to me. “New Jersey Friends?” Isn’t that an oxymoron?
See? They’re infiltrating! Must. Line. Windows. With. Foil. To. Protect. Self.
Sheesh. How did I get on this topic anyway?
Note: Thanks to my daughter and our dear friend Ali W. for finding and naming the original Monty (Sr.).