Remember that whole love/hate thing between me and this island I mentioned in the last blog? Well, the tides have turned my friends. Me and Okinawa? NOT on good terms right now. Well, at least me and the creatures of Okinawa….
A few nights ago I came home from work pretty late and immediately went upstairs to get on the computer. Now, I have an extra bedroom that more or less exists as my “get ready” room. I do my hair here, iron clothes, put on make-up, those sorts of things. TB is currently on a trip which not only affects my mood most days but also affects how much time I spend staring at a computer screen. I was on the computer hoping to catch him on Skype or chat before bed but to no avail. I stood up from my giant floor cushion, start to walk towards the doorway and noticed a shadow on the wall. Weird, my walls are all WHITE. What’s that strange, greenish, brownish, thing up there? Uhhhh, it has legs. And a tail. And little beady eyes. That’s right, it was a lizard my friends. My heart was pumping so hard I honestly thought I was going to pass out. Stephanie, a lizard. Who cares? I can hear it now from you animal lovers, but here’s the thing. It was taunting me. Like, hey lady. I’m not moving. And since I’m hanging out above this doorway that’s seven feet high, you can’t get me down. So now what are you going to do?
So we had a stand-off. And at this point, this is where it got ridiculous. I was honest to God standing in the middle of that extra room, arms crossed just staring at this lizard. I would take a few steps forward to look at it, it would move it’s tiny creepy foot, and I would jump back about eight feet. Then, I talked to it. I honestly had a conversation with this lizard that went something along the lines of, “Look. I need you to be out of my house. I need you out because I won’t sleep well until I know you’re gone and the slightest ruffle of the wind will have me convinced you are in my sheets. So please, please just go.” Nothing. Not one world from that lizard. What a pompous bastard.
Then I started realizing there was a LOT of stuff on the ground. Like, a whole lot. Which also made me nervous. In the moment I was worried that there was a whole family, a whole lizard community living under my baseball hat or behind the mirror I have yet to hang on the wall. So I started cleaning. I picked up everything that was on the floor with the most rapid motion you have ever seen. You know, just in case the community actually existed. Nope, still just the one. So my next move? Just get outta the room and close the door. The lizard found his way in, he can find his own way out. And that’s exactly what I did. I walked slowly towards the door, made a small leap out the doorway, and slammed it closed. I’ve seen too many movies where people end up with animals on their heads.
But no, of course I couldn’t actually be okay with a lizard just hanging out in my house. Good lord. I tried to convince myself for about 15 minutes that it would be fine. But every time I walked up the stairs my heart started beating so loud I swear I could hear it. So I grabbed a jar. I figured I could just scoop him up close the lid and then take him outside. I never had any intention of killing him, (again, information for you animal lovers out there). Besides, can you imagine the potential mess and clean up of killing a lizard? YUCK.
I slowly opened the door with my free hand, jumped back into the room and spun around to find…..nothing. The damn thing was GONE. MIA. SHIT. Wait, this is what I wanted right? I wanted to abandon the lizard so it would find its own way out. Only, somewhere in the back of my head, I KNEW that thing was still in the house. Only now it was in a better hiding spot. Either behind the basket of hair supplies, on the leg of the iron, in the curtains, or wait……behind the stupid baseball hat. I see your skinny little head lizard! Come here! I moved the hat towards the jar thinking he would just waltz right into the jar, I could close the lid and then take him outside. But no, of course it’s not that easy. That little sucker was fast as lightning. He started darting all over the room. From one corner, to the ceiling, to the opposite wall, back to the corner. He finally stopped on the curtains, and I had my chance. I picked up a small cardboard box on the ground, jar in my right hand and trapped him from both sides. Unfortunately, success only lasted about 3 seconds. The lizard quickly realized that the jar and the box were not the same size, thus leaving an opening on either side of the box. He crawled out, I dropped both jar and box out of a terrifying mix of shock and fear (Yes, of a gecko. Shut up back there in the peanut gallery). Are you freaking kidding me?!?! I was so frustrated, so annoyed. Then what happens, the phone rings. TB is finally able to call from his trip, at 2am mind you, in the MIDDLE of my lizard crisis. SO not okay. But. What’s this? The lizard is now on the wall next to a window. Stephanie, just open the damn window. So I did. I talked myself into reaching within 4 inches of that thing and opening the window. It was like he trusted me again, back to stand-off mode. I prodded him along with the box, slowly so he didn’t freak out again because I really couldn’t handle anymore of the running around the room. He paused for one tiny moment as if to say, really? This is all you wanted? And then walked out of my concrete house, cool as a cucumber. I on the other hand, with sweaty palms slammed the window closed and sank down on the floor and cried. The combination of the lizard, the phone call, the lack of TB and the adrenaline finally did me in. I’d had quite enough of the animal kingdom, thank you.
Except. That it wasn’t enough. What is this ridiculous karma I have with island creatures? Sheeesh. Fast forward about 20 hours. (I promise to keep this story shorter). My friend B and I had recently been discussing bats and how they are everywhere on Okinawa. Not just the little ones either. We have big ugly fruit bats and they are NOT afraid of people. They go zooming around at night around the bars, restaurants, and military bases. Now I have a small yard with a lot of trees. Big trees at that. Tall with big floppy leaves, flowers, the whole bit. So, I need to go out to my car, get my book. Open the door and BAT FLYING AT MY FACE out of one of the giant trees. I swear, I just stood there and sighed shaking my head back and forth while I lost another 6 years off of my life. I feel like smoking would be less detrimental to my health these days than all of this animal nonsense. The bat flew in between my front door and the columns on the porch. We’re talking a space of about 3.5 feet friends, seriously. That is too close for a bat to be to my house, let alone to my face. I went back inside, talked to B, drove to her house and proceeded to split 3 bottles of champagne with her and ate a big bag of Popeye’s. I had earned it over the past two days, don’t you think?
Now, some of you may be thinking, seriously Stephanie. Cut the overreacting, cut the drama. But I’m stressed. TB is out-of-town and I have animals running amuck in my house and flying at my head. I’m exhausted, I’m on edge, and I don’t like animals enough to say oh well, fly at your own speed, even if it means crashing into my face. You go live by yourself in a foreign country and let me know how it goes when a bat flies at YOUR face or a lizard decides to take up residence in YOUR spare bedroom. Until then, you may laugh at my misery but you may not judge me for it, thank you very much.
PS – Happy Mother’s Day friends and family. Especially to the one and only Gail who supports all of my crazy ideas with never-ending love and boxes of supplies from home. I don’t know how you do it, and I’m forever grateful for your generosity and go get ’em attitude. You remind me to be strong on the days that I want to throw in the towel with your positive attitude and Bailey’s Irish Cream. I love you, G dog.