So Much in Love

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A few weekends ago a friend and I stopped by the Little Free Library in the Village of East Davenport, and I pulled out a copy of Going Solo, a delightful book by Roald Dahl about his days flying with the RAF. Dahl was in Africa when Britain declared war on Germany, and the night before the declaration, Dahl was tasked with staking out the road the local German citizens would take in an attempt to escape the British occupied town. The story of what followed is pretty intense and well-worth seeking out. What I loved about this story, though, was the observation he made about frogs while trying to sleep in the tense hours before the convoy was expected to trek down the road.
The croaking of frogs is the night music of the East African coast. The actual croak is made only by the bullfrog and he does it by blowing out his dewlap and letting it go with a burp. This is his mating call and when the female hears it she hops smartly over to the side of her prospective mate. But when she arrives a curious thing happens and it is not quite what you are thinking. The bullfrog does not turn and greet the female. Far from it. He ignores her totally and continues to sit there singing his song to the stars while the female waits patiently beside him. She waits and she waits and she waits. The male sings and he sings and he sings, often for several hours, and what has actually happened is this. The bullfrog has fallen so much in love with the sound of his own voice that he has completely forgotten why he started croaking in the first place. We know that he started because he was feeling sexy. But now he has become mesmerized by the lovely music he is making so that for him nothing else exists, not even the panting female at his side. There comes a time, though, when she loses all patience and starts nudging him hard with a foreleg, and only then does the bullfrog come out of his trance and turn to embrace her. Ah well. The bullfrog, I told myself as I sat there in the dark forest, is not after all so very different from a lot of human males that I could think of. 

Roald Dahl! Sums it up perfectly.



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