Monday, June 19, 2006

My Hero

For quite some time now there has been a wasp nest outside my bathroom window. I called the Residential Maintenance folks, who came and knocked down the nest. However, it was not destroyed. Instead, it just bounced and landed on my windowsill. This didn't seem to cause the wasps much concern. They quickly and industriously rebuilt the nest in exactly the same place it had been, only this time it seemed a little larger than before!

The nest kept growing. I started debating calling the maintenance team again and this time asking them to bring some poison or something similar. About a week went by, and the wasps were constantly crawling around and on top of each other as they added more space to their little wasp production factory. Then I noticed that all the little hexagonal holes were being filled with some whitish, cotton candy-like material. The wasps were clearly on their game. It was also about this time that I noticed that - get this - wasps can smile. Well, maybe leer is a better word. Whatever it was, it was chilling. I started asking myself, aren't all creatures good? Could these wasps actually want to hurt little old me?

Araucana filled me in on the true nature of wasps. The answer was yes. Yes, they could and would hurt me. Why? Because wasps are mean! Moreover, they have very poor manners and refuse to stay outside. And once they get inside, well, it's all over. Game to the wasps, and it would be a painful loss, so to speak. They read your paper, eat your jam, drink all your sugar water, and carve your body into a human nest. Not pleasant. I underlined the mental note in my head to call someone or email some department to come take care of my winged, jagged legged enemies.

Unfortunately, the truth is that I often make these kinds of mental notes, but when I go into work I'm buffetted by the sandstorms and hailstorms and people storms of consular work. Everything in my head just vanishes for the next ten to twelve hours.

So the nest grew, and I let it grow. The horror of it all.

You can see where this is heading. I certainly could. One stung Crawdad, lying in bed, head replaced by a red and swollen mass of irritated tissue, wasps laughing and laughing and stinging him again and again. I think it's safe to say noone has ever heard the cruel laugh of the wasp queen and survived, am I right?

Yes, I knew that after their little wasp condos were built they would be bored. And bored wasps do one thing - they kill the nearest human. I think we all know this.

But then it happened!

Just as I was planning a really compelling email that would bring the Wasp Busters team to my doorstep, I noticed that the nest was destroyed! Well, maybe not completely destroyed, but significantly reduced. What had happened? I paused. Perhaps the government, completely for my benefit of course, had chosen me to be a test case in its new mental email application? Just think about an email hard enough and it would be sent? Could that be? I decided that was less than likely. Another option - could the wasps have just moved out? While I was hopeful about this possibility, I was doubtful. Evil doesn't just leave; something must have happened.

But what was it? What had delayed my execution, my death by wasp love? Walking into the bathroom that night, I saw the answer. Straight out of a science fiction novel, the largest gecko I'd ever seen. He seemed afraid of noone - not me, not the wasps certainly. I felt like I was watching some ancient rivalry play out, something like a cross between Mayan folklore and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe. As near as I could tell, the wasps went into defensive formation. They covered the (now diminished) nest with their evil little bodies and threw insults at the gecko. I was terrified, but the gecko just looked at them with a bemused but cold glare. What existential questions were answered for me in just a minute of watching this unfold! Yes! there is good and evil in the world, and yes! there is such a thing as divine intervention. (And apparently blue whales are able to mate with geckos in the wild because that is the only way to explain this massive thing stuck to the side of my exterior bathroom wall.)

Anyway, to make a long story short, this gecko had obviously come, Boddhisatva-like, to my house to maintain the balance between good and evil. Yes, there are forces in this world greater than we are, and they are going through a titanic battle. We may only catch a glimpse or two of this battle in our lifetimes, and I had one of these chances just outside my window. Although this knowledge made me feel a little diminished, in the end I was comforted by my place in the world. I went to sleep calmly, secure in the knowledge that many of my questions about life on this planet were answered and that I had my own guardian gecko. Evil may never go away, but it can sometimes be eaten by hungry geckos. My hero.


At 11:25 PM, Anonymous shrinkwrap said...

C. Well, if you hadn't included the picure, I perhaps would not have believed you were doing other than spinning a yarn. What a gecko! However, not to alarm you, but do you sense that there may be a sinister side to her (gecko is clearly female)? SHE IS A CARNIVORE! Is there more meat around? YES! Please, let us know you are there and watchful.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Crawdad said...

It's the truth! I have more pictures of the gecko and a video or two of wasps buzzing around (sans gecko, when they're strutting and preening in a kind of antediluvian strut). And no, I hadn't considered the potential sinister side of the gecko. Dios mio! It's a good point though. So maybe the gecko is less Boddhisatva-like and more dualistic, like Vishnu (the Preserver) and Shiva (the Destroyer). The two sides of the Gecko, amazing. *


So the next time I see the gecko may be my last. I'll keep you posted....


*Note - actually I guess we'd need a third spot for Brahma the Creator, but the idea of that gecko creating everything, huge as he is, is a little too much for my little brain to handle right now....

At 3:35 AM, Anonymous shrinkwrap said...

No,no! You must handle it! Stay alert! Brahma the Creator exactly...she, the gecko, is pregnant, ready to produce dozens of ravenous she-geckos! They grow swiftly, silently...then destroy.

Get a roommate.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Alizarin said...

I am still in favor of the gecko's inherent goodness. Geckishnu the Preserver keeps things from getting inside the apartment ... Geckiva the Destroyer eats all the little insects ... while Geckahma the Creator makes little geckoes to eat more insects. It's all part of the Wheel of Life, man.

I guess a roommate wouldn't hurt just in case, though. Someone who slept closer to the bathroom.

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous shrinkwrap said...

OK, OK... -ishnu, -iva, and -aham...not the dark side. Just don's say I didn't warn you.

At 5:59 AM, Blogger sterna said...

Whatever the exact nature of that beastie, know that you have experienced a Geckophony, i.e., the irruption of a gecko into the material plane.

Keep your powder dry.

At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I has heard of this but not visited to see for myself.
Wondering how things are there today in the wake of the Mumbai bombing.

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Alizarin said...

Yes, how are you?

At 3:11 AM, Blogger sterna said...

Wondering here too. Hope things are as good as might be expected under the circumstances.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

this is an amazing story. made me crack up.


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