Lizard Enlivens Drive To School

This critter hitched a ride as the Joaquins drove to school

A loud thud jolted my car as I was driving my son to preschool. At first, I thought pothole. I mean, it wouldn’t be the first or last to rattle my ride.

But then I had a strange feeling that someone, or something, was staring at me. Turned out to be the latter. I caught a glimpse of a hitchhiker clinging to my passenger-side window for dear life. I couldn’t investigate because I was trying to stay focused on the road, but it appeared to be a little lizard.

That’s where those potholes come into play. No pressure, but suddenly, I’m in an impromptu drive test. Trying to navigate around craters in the road without knocking off Rango.

I call him Rango because that’s immediately what my son screamed out with delight when he saw our unexpected passenger. If you know why he said Rango, then you’ll appreciate the extra pressure put on me to make it to school with Rango intact.

You see, the other night, we just started watching the Academy Award-winning animated movie Rango.

Rango is actually a chameleon, but who can tell the difference? Especially driving down the road. As a matter of fact, my daughter also screamed out “Rango!” with delight recently, when she saw an ad starring the Geico gecko.

But back to the real Rango. The plot of the movie describes Rango as “an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.”

I can’t actually speak to the plot because we’ve only made it five minutes into the movie. My son likes to re-watch the first scene over and over. Which coincidentally is playing in my mind over and over as I’m behind the wheel.

Rango, voiced brilliantly by Johnny Depp, finds his opening monologue is falling flat and has an epiphany. “What our story needs is an ironic, unexpected event, that will propel the hero into conflict,” he says.

Just then, we see that Rango is actually a pet traveling in a glass aquarium in the back of a car. The car suddenly swerves, and the aquarium flies out and lands in the middle of the road, glass shattered.

The sense of irony is not lost on me. Here I am giving Rango a ride, dead set on not propelling our little hero into the road and squashing my son’s new companion.

Thankfully, we did not have a sequel on the way to school. We all made it there in one piece, said our good-byes and snapped a picture to remember our ride with Rango.