Freakout

Nature wants everything here. It encroaches, dissolves, stains. It eats and shits and dies. It is no respecter of efforts toward tidiness and preservation. I know I wrote about liking the lines being blurred between wilderness and civilization, but it is like being under siege sometimes. Just in case anyone is under the impression that this is tropical paradise (though it is)… this post’s for you. Gentle reader, I advise against reading this while eating.

Yesterday, I found Yvonne and India laughing and chatting in the threshold of the big house, puzzle pieces spread out between them, each holding a rag and a cup of hot water. It was not over-the-top house cleaning; it was the logical response to opening the puzzle box and having roaches fly out. New game: erase fecal dots from each piece! To their credit, they really were having a good time.

Yvonne says she has given up on the concept of clean. That probably helps.

There is gecko poo everywhere. You find it by the stove, on the table, or, while lying in bed, you may even see the gecko himself in the rafters above, slowly emitting it, until it drops onto the cover of your book, “Wildlife of Costa Rica.” Touche. Still, they eat the moths that eat my merino wool shirts, so they are friends.

Everything goes in the fridge: raisins, sugar, water bottles. Otherwise, tight twist ties and double bags, or your beans go moldy, or get bugs, or nothing, but you imagine the worst and psych yourself out.

In the yard, I nearly stepped on what J. believes was a small fer-de-lance, a venomous snake, but it was astute and slid into its hole just in time.

I did step on a gecko friend on the kitchen floor, amazed I hadn’t done so earlier, since there are probably three dozen in the house. The tail bolted up and writhed away down a hole, but the body just lay there, bending in agony. Once I’d gotten the bile to recede down my throat, I used the broom to push the body back into the shadows where I wouldn’t squash it again. That’s a silver lining: ants come and take care of anything dead, or any dropped crumb, so cleanup’s a cinch.

There may be a giant grasshopper licking your “clean” dinner plates. There may be three bees diving at your sweaty face while you try to chop cold fruit. There may be maggots wiggling in that fruit, if it’s a guava (upon which, despite their abundance, I have given up entirely for that reason). There may be a kamikaze beetle veering into the light bulb, buzzing and clanking its exoskeleton. There may be biting ants in your sheets each night. Your pillow and mattress will turn black with mold. Par for the course. No biggie.

It was one smooth, white oval the size of a baby tooth that finally got me to shriek. I found it on a shelf under my folded “clean” shirts. It looked like a plastic game piece, or a mint. “What is this?” I called to J. “What is what?” he asked from the other room. I carried it over in my palm. “It’s a gecko egg, ” he said. “There’re more in the wall.” “Ehh,” I replied, rolling it, and then it fell. It made a tiny, disgusting splat on the floorboard, a Pollock amoeba of white embryonic jelly.

And then I freaked out. At last.

Nature wins again!

One Reply to “Freakout”

  1. I live these tropical posts. Great writing. Interesting to be able to feel the difference between on the move cataloging and capturing the visceral impact of life in motion and the lyrical reflections at rest. Look forward to your posts.

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