Don’t you love animals, scaly, furry, feathery, wet, dry, big or small? Pondside, I point out the floating frog to young Shumi. I chuckle over the parrot on Anwar’s shoulder. I stop by Ben’s home to see the big monitor lizard they caught, pat a cat’s head, run some veggie peels to the sheep. And I drift off to sleep comparing croaking frogs to orchestral instruments. “CheeeeCheeee.” They’re the piccalos. “Soo. Soo.” Yes, the clarinets. “Grawk.” Tuba. “ButterButterButterButter.” Percussion.
But some animals terrify. Others annoy us. A man recently arrived at the hospital, gored in the gut by a water buffalo. Another came with snakebite marks on his foot. As he waited to be checked in, the neurotoxin started taking over. He became paralyzed and couldn’t even breathe. His brother pumped air into his lungs - pump air, 4-second pause, pump, 4-second pause, pump all night long – to keep that brother alive while the antitoxin kicked in.
Then a poisonous centipede scurried through our bedsheets a couple nights ago. And a foot-long torkay gecko took up residence in our bedroom air-conditioner. At 15-minute intervals throughout the nights, he’d wind up his vocal cords, “rrrrrRRRRR” and call out, “TORTANG. TORtang. Tortang. Tor-t-a-n-g…. “ I counted until the lizard, finally breathless, stopped. My husband, ever the problem solver, pounded the air-conditioner, “Hey, in there. Enough!!” That only worked for a moment; even running the air conditioner didn’t drive him out.
Crazy themes flow through our days. And sometimes the theme is animals.