The Girl Who Cried Gecko (Yes, I Have an Overactive Imagination)

I have this deathly fear of geckos and lizards and all their other reptilian relatives that look a lot like them. I am afraid of many such things, creepy crawlies, but I have a hunch that my fear of geckos is magnified 100 fold because I am confronted by them so often. I should look into where and how they nest and why in the world they feel so at home among human beings, because they practically live with us. Shamelessly! In full view!

Not like mice and men who can be living in each other’s presence but out of each other’s sight. Only hints of the inferior’s existence are spotted, nibbled on food, unless you go looking for them, or are unfortunate to catch them unawares before they have had a chance to exit before you enter. No, geckos have no such qualms. Lizards do to some extent, they’ll be out there, soaking in some sun but you coming within a certain distance of them makes them move, they relocate. Geckos perhaps feel invincible because they crawl on our walls and ceilings. Possibly laughing at our inadequacies, at being limited by gravity. Confined to the ground.

Well, geckos are not wholly immune to gravity, I can testify having witnessed a certain incident, a gecko drowning. I am not sure that it did drown because I did not stick around to see whether it would live or die. Here’s what happened. In a blatant disregard of my superiority as a human being, not to mention my privacy, several days ago I noticed a gecko crawling the ceiling of the bathroom as I went about taking my morning shower.

I freaked!!! I then weighed my options, repeated all my “You are strong, you are brave, you are fearless” affirmations to myself, reminded myself that I am in fact the human, it the gecko, that I am therefore 500 times more superior to it, that it cannot cause me any harm, that such fears are irrational. I then hurried to summarize my shower anyway, to leave the bathroom, to give the gecko some privacy, not that it had afforded me the same respect.

As I tried to summarize my shower, I was washing my hair so this was no easy task, we maintained eye contact, the gecko and I. Its audacity! Cannot even avert its eyes and give me a few minutes to finish up and conceal my nakedness. Such a perv this gecko. Then as I reached for my towel as slowly as possible so as not to startle the gecko, it slipped and fell…right into the toilet! I nearly shriveled up and died. Now the tables had turned. Whereas before the gecko had held me hostage and had me rushing through my bathroom tasks, I now had it at my mercy.

I really wanted to flush the toilet and put an end to that little creature, now that it was no longer all high and mighty and imposing, I could afford to refer to it with words like ‘little’, seeing it for what it really was. I could have flushed, I wanted to, I even reached for the handle but then the little creep, the peeping tom, started struggling to get out of the toilet bowl. It made valiant attempts but I suspect the water in the toilet bowl was a challenge for the gecko.

Gravity having never been something for it to worry about, righting itself and climbing right out of the toilet should have been a very simple task, but the water, and possibly excrement, but I’m not trying to gross you out so just the water, was weighing it down. Slowing it down. Stopping whatever sorcery normally allows it to walk on walls from functioning properly. Water is possibly a gecko’s Kryptonite! It kept lunging, jumping at the sides of the toilet bowl, trying to propel itself out of the water to hold on to the sides and then climb back to its mighty pedestal, the walls and ceiling. No luck.

I do not know what happened to the gecko. Its first attempt at lunging out of the toilet bowl once again caused me to almost shrivel to death, so I quickly concealed my nakedness and got on my way leaving the scores at;

Geckos: 971

Kathleen: 1

(How have I won one though? By not flushing, being the bigger man, yes, Kathleen: 1!)

I am now on the board geckos. You had better watch out.

***

New developments in the gecko world. This morning, there was another one in the bathroom. I am sure it was not the one I had been watching slowly drown because this one was small and frail looking and was missing its tail. It could possibly be the one I watched almost drown come back all frail after that fight for its life, but I reckon it was a different one. A relative of the one that drowned come to search for its comrade at his last known location.

He looked like times had been tough, maybe because the others had warned him, forcefully tried to stop him even, from coming back for his friend. He had possibly been beaten and locked up and starved, all ‘for his own good’, to deny him the strength and will power it would require him to come search for his friend. They warned him of this large beast, ie. me, that squeals and screams, making frightful noises that cause you to lose concentration and fall, who lays traps down below, water-y traps that deny you the power to walk on walls and then she causes these watery traps to twirl and twirl throwing you around like clothes in a washing machine before sucking you up and taking you into a wasteland of waste far far away.

How funny that they may think all this of me when I am more afraid of them than they are of me. (I know, I know, geckos possibly have no thoughts at all, let alone such fantastical and improbable thoughts as my own.)

So I spotted the gecko in the shower, and for a second I considered just skipping my morning shower all together. That thought lasted a millisecond. It lasted a millisecond and then the reality that is the heat in Nairobi right now dawned on me so I put away those silly thoughts and did what any self respecting woman that has grown up with brothers would do, I went and called my big(older) brother. (Perhaps women that have grown up with brothers should be, stereotypically, tougher, rougher, I don’t know. I, for one, am no braver for having brothers, they take care of all the scary stuff.)

Now, can we talk about gender roles for a moment? Women are expected to cook and clean and nurture and mother and submit to a man’s will, men are expected to make the money and change the car tyre and kill the insects in the house and wear kilts if they’re Scottish(A primitive summary.) All I want to say on these somewhat traditional gender roles is…I feel very sorry for the man who is as scared of insects and creepy crawlies as I am. Can you imagine what it must be like for him? Being called upon by his little sister, who adores him and looks up to him, or his girlfriend who thinks him big and strong and invincible, or his wife who is deathly afraid of these things and expects him to be the better half of the partnership that can ‘man up’ and handle such things.

I feel sorry for that man because how do you say no in such a situation? How do you back down? My brother, for example, could not simply turn away and suggest we call someone else, like my mother perhaps, or my (even bigger)small brother. He tried to do the latter though. Ha ha!

I realised he was probably just as much a coward as I am when, after showing him the gecko, thank goodness it was where I left it otherwise I might have turned into ‘the girl that cried gecko’, he reached for one of those long broom handles and started pushing the gecko towards the toilet, and when my towel which I had hang on a hook in the bathroom brushed against his ear, he jumped by about a mile! I, who was a few paces behind him, of course jumped by two miles when he made his sudden move. What a hopeless pair we are!

It all ended well, though not for the gecko. I got to take my shower, feeling very fresh as I write this. My brother managed to pull it off, the ‘manly’ role, at least for now. The gecko, well, the gecko is now in another place. Not a better place, but hopefully in the wasteland beyond he will be crawling on a wall one day and find his comrade and be able to tell him, “I came back for you! I came back for you when everyone told me not to. I came back for you even after they beat me and locked me up and starved me, all in an attempt to stop me from coming back for you and still I came back for you.”

Such a wonderful love story!

That first gecko, he is still such a perv!

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