One of my biggest fears in moving to Orlando was the gators. No, seriously. I pictured gators everywhere. In the lakes. Crawling out of drainage pipes. Eating my dog. We had friends who had a gator in their garage. They don't even live near water. Basically I thought we were moving to an episode of Swamp People.
I was wary, the first few times I ran around our neighborhood. I tiptoed on the dock. I made wide berths around puddles and swampy looking water. I was suspicious of large bushes.
But six months passed and no sign of gators. I think I heard some in the reeds one night at the lake, if gators make a sound something like a pig. So either gators or water pigs was what I heard. But no sightings.
I started to get a little disappointed, nay, a lot disappointed. I was told there'd be gators. When I mentioned this gatorless existence on Facebook, people suggested I had not been leaving my house, and I simply needed to look harder.
So I've looked. I look at every body of water I pass. I squint into swampy places. It's not that this area lacks wildlife. I've seen deer, armadillo, otters, sand cranes, and more vultures than I care to count. I had almost given up hope.
And then today, I'm pretty sure I saw one. It was on the left side of the road, probably 50 feet from the street, sunning itself on the side of a lake (I use the term lake generously). Finally! I think I was starting to get a complex, an "everyone's seen a gator but me what am I doing wrong?" complex. No more! I now believe there are gators in Orlando.
How long will it be until I am no longer excited to see gators? Probably when I see one in my garage. Definitely if they eat my dog.