People wonder why I fear you. You are small and therefore, they think, harmless. But what you lack in size and sheer force, you make up for in cunning evilness. I suppose you have targeted me because you can smell the fear. You are determined to make an example of me to the rest of humanity, to let your minions know just how powerful you are, to warn them of your eventual world domination. They aren’t buying it, but I’m getting the message loud and clear. You are determined to see me die. Your initial tactics of death by fear inducing heart attack didn’t work, so you’ve moved on to more direct methods.
Today in the stairwell when I saw you and shouted, “Dammit!” I briefly thought that maybe you were trying to help me. I have heard that an effective therapy method for those with extreme fears, is to continually expose them to that which they fear until they are no longer afraid. Maybe that’s what they are doing for me, I thought as I scurried passed you and out the door to the safety of my car.
But before I had even started the engine, it all became so clear. You. Stairs. The perfect combination for my demise. Everyone already knows stairs and I don’t mix. I fall up them; I slide down them. In fact I have almost busted my head open on the stairs of my work building no less than four times. The very stairs in which you lie in wait.
I have told my co-workers that if I ever don’t show up for work to come look for me in the stairwell. They will find me at the bottom of the stairs, limbs bent in unnatural angles and think it was an accident, the product of my lack of coordination. They will never suspect that I saw you, little ole’ you, freaked out and in an effort to claw my way through the concrete wall, tumbled down the stairs.
They will open the door for the paramedics and you will scoot out, but not before some naïve soul says, “Look at the cute little lizard.”
I thought saving the life of one of you brethren last week would score me some points, give me a reprieve from the death warrant you have placed on my head. But alas, there is no end to your evilness. I know this and still, when my boss returns, I will tell him about you, how you will starve or perish from the frigid temps, and together – he with a bowl and piece of cardboard, and me supervising from a safe (safe, ha!) distance – we will save your life.
Why do I do it, continue to save your life when your evil species wants nothing more than to see me die? Because I’m freakin’ Snow White, that’s why.
Animals come from near and far to be in my presence. Like that spider in my car the other night. The one terrorizing me with its dance on my dashboard, forcing me to pull over, take off my shoe and kill it. I will be in therapy for years over that.
Just because there are creatures that I fear - like you, evil lizard - doesn't mean I want them to die, especially at the hands of me, whether intentional or accidental.
Like when the husband, some friends and I were in Costa Rica and I organized a cadre of volunteers to save a colony of starfish - mutant, alien, most likely highly poisonous starfish, but starfish none-the-less.
We were on a day retreat to Tortuga Island and in a burst of creative genius, I wrote mine and the husband's name in the sand and decorated it with strategically placed pieces of dried coral washed ashore. The husband, ever supportive of my creative whims hauled over the largest piece of coral I had ever seen. Seriously, it was YUGE. Definitely larger than a breadbox, but smaller than a really large dog.
I would like to take this opportunity to digress from my story, as I usually do. Several of my friends have recently become parents. And as new parents usually do, they are always seeking advice on how to "be a good parent." Luckily for them, they have me. I am not a parent, but am somehow uniquely qualified to give "how to be a good parent" advice.
The YUGE cluster of coral that the husband brought to me was pink and black. Which reminds me of story from my childhood. I was a wee lass of about eight and my stepdad was going to visit his family in New York. He told my mom and me that he was going to return with sand that he had collected on one of his travels. This wasn't just any sand, though. It was pink sand. I'm sure you can imagine how utterly exciting PINK sand is to an eight year little girl whose entire room is painted in the upset-stomach/nausea/diarrhea remedying color.
My excitement over the next several days could not be contained. As my mom and I waited at the gate, I thought I was going to pee my pants waiting for my stepdad to emerge. Finally he did. He knelt down and retrieved a container from his carry-on. He peeled back the covered, I peered inside and what did my wondering eyes behold? Not pink sand. Not rose, nor salmon, nor magenta, nor red, nor blush. But black. Black sand. WTF, stepdad? Seriously. W. T. F.
Which leads me to my advice: parents, you want to build up insane amounts of excitement in your child and then crush it a few days later? Promise her pink sand and deliver black.
That concludes my digression. Back to the pink and black coral, which my husband gallantly brought to me. And dropped in the sand. And the thing exploded. And a million, literally a million, black mutant alien starfish emerged along with a thousand unidentified creatures.
Perfect. We just destroyed their home. This was completely unacceptable to me and I made the husband help me transport all million mutant starfish to the ocean so they didn't dehydrate on the beach. I delicately scooped sand beneath a mutant starfish, the sand providing a barrier between it's writhing spiny appendages - did I mention they were mutant? oh, and also black? - and gently placed it in the water. The husband scooped up a handful and flung them at the ocean.
"What is the point of saving them from dehydration if they are going to die from a traumatic brain injury when they hit the water!" I cried.
The husband: eye roll
Me: Go away. Stop helping.
I continued placing the mutant starfish in the ocean one by one, and soon a small crowd formed and everyone began helping me. I closely monitored them to make sure they were all adhering to the appropriate transporting procedure while hoping that no one got stung by the surely deathly poisonous appendages of mutant alien starfish. I of course couldn't tell my altruistic group that there was a very good possibility they would be poisoned to death. They might stop helping.
That's how much I care about animals. I'm willing to sacrifice my life and that of others, apparently, in order to save them, whether evil lizards or mutant aliens.
So dear lizard in the stairwell, go torture someone else will ya? Clearly I am on your side. I'll even help you when your plan for world domination is complete. As long as you promise to never send one of your siblings to crawl up my pants again. All bets are off then.
Oh, and also. I'm sorry I forgot to ask my boss to save you. If you survive tonight in the stairwell, I promise I'll have him rescue you first thing in the morning. I'm so sorry you have to spend the night on the cold concrete. I really am. My night will be miserable as I worry about you.
But if you think about it, you kinda deserve it. You were trying to kill me after all.