Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Things That Make Me Squirm

Though we have been living in Vietnam for over five years, there are still things that make me squirm. I will never get used to hearing cockroaches skittering under our bed in the night or alley cats fighting on our roof. I doubt that I will ever fully appreciate the smell of fermenting fish sauce or coffee the consistency of spent motor oil. On the other hand, there are other things that I've grown so accustomed to I scarcely notice them anymore. We have a small army of geckos that live on our walls and ceilings. They eat mosquitoes and spiders and moths so we figure they earn their keep. Normally they mind their own business and we forget they are around. Occasionally, though, they hide in door jams and make an awful "pop" when we shut the doors. Then they smell rotten for a day or so until the ants clean up the mess. Twice I've found a shivering or half-frigid gecko stranded in the refrigerator, and once an immature gecko lost his grip on the ceiling and landed on Daniel's head.

Usually these gecko mishaps are the exception to the rule, but lately I've been dueling with a particularly aggressive gecko who took up residence under Caleb's booster seat. Apparently he discovered an all-you-can-eat buffet of crumbs and spilled food and has forsaken bugs entirely. Every time Caleb climbs into his seat, the gecko dashes out and makes a break for the wall. After meals he waits for the all-clear then heads back to his hideout. No matter how well I try to clean under the chair, he still returns for the pickings.

I find the whole scenario a bit creepy, but Caleb doesn't seem to mind sharing his chair. He fondly refers to the little monster as "my gecko" and likes to look for him before climbing into his booster seat. The other day he found the unsuspecting gecko dining and tried to catch him. I came out of the kitchen in time to see the gecko hightailing it out from under the table with Caleb in hot pursuit crawling on all fours after him. Boys will be boys, I suppose. I just wish that geckos would be geckos and stick to snagging mosquitoes. Ah well, maybe given enough time I will resign myself to having a guest at meals.

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