I was attending a training seminar at the Hilton Hotel near the King Street Metro in Alexandria. I had some roof leaks the night before during a heavy downpour and I ended up getting no sleep. I arrived right at the time it was starting. Hmmm…do I sit at the front and hope that helps motivate me to stay awake, or do I try to hide in the back, I thought. I chose the front, although that ended up being a poor choice because I ended up surrendering at points to the inner need to sleep.
I felt terrible…I was really interested in the subject matter but I just could not fight the narcoleptic impulses that pulled my eyelids downward.
The person sitting next to me at the conference was Tiffany. She works as the Director of Philanthropy at a VA based nonprofit. Originally from the DC area, Tiffany moved to Alabama for three years but returned recently. “My parents and two brothers live here, so it’s nice to be back in the area,” she told me.
We chatted at the breaks. She even offered to nudge me if I slipped into a slumber. At the end of the day I asked her to take my $10. She did and the fun began. We talked about a lot of things; however, the thing that I could not get past was her unique obsession with hedgehogs. Yep, hedgehogs. Now, I think people often interchange hedgehogs and porcupines, but I’m going to assume that her infatuation is in fact with the hedgehog (Erinaceinae).
She has a hedgehog collection which started on a missionary trip she took with her father to Romania. “This guy had 200 figurines and he gave me one,” Tiffany recounted. She’s got them from about 20 countries although she was quick to point out that, “There not on display!”
It gets better though. She later bought a live hedgehog in North Carolina and named him Darcy after the Lost character. Well, this gets fuzzy (no pun intended) here but she transported Darcy to Virginia which may or may not have been legal. I did a little research and found that there are about a half-dozen states that do not allow hedgehogs, however, I didn’t find anything related to Virginia or North Carolina that prohibits them. THEN she decides she has to sell little Darcy and sold him on craigslist! Well, before you go commenting that you can’t sell animals on craigslist, there is a little loophole. She actually didn’t sell Darcy, she sold the cage and accessories and gave Darcy away to a veterinarian student. I hope they didn’t use Darcy for lab work. Tiffany had thought of this as well. “There was one stipulation, no dissecting,” she told me.
Hedgehogs apparently make good pets. “You don’t have to walk them,” she said. “And he was really cute and stayed up while I studied, they’re nocturnal, and he would run on his little wheel.” The drawback she told me was that her clothes started to smell like hedgehogs. She smelled fine when I met her though!
Tiffany has crossed paths with hedgehogs in other periods of her life. Her sorority “little” had one too!
In all fairness, let me tell you that Tiffany is totally normal and even told me that she doesn’t know why she thought of the hedgehog when we were talking. It definitely made for an interesting and educational chat though!
Oh, and remember that trip to Romania where the whole thing started, that was through Oakseed Ministries. They help abandoned children and the poor throughout the world. Tiffany donated her $10 to the organization.