So while apparently (not that anyone in my family other than occasionally my mom cares about football) the "match of the football season" for the midwest was going on last night. Well folks, here in Yaounde, we had our own little match as well. No, not Bears vs Packers or anything like that. This was Lizard vs Elena.
So there I was, around 7 pm, chatting happily online with Sean and anticipating an early-to-bed kind of night after a week of being awoken to the beeping of taxis at 6 AM. (Ugh, that's for another post...) I hear a squeak. My first thought: "That better not be a bat." The thing about bats is that if you don't know when the bat entered the area, and you've slept in that room, you have to get a rabies shot. Simple as that. So, I casually make my way over to the light switch (it gets dark around 6 pm here) and I look at the corner where I heard the noise. "Nope! No bat, phew. Just that paint chip...wait a minute." That was no paint chip. Tan colored, about the size of my index finger, with jet black eyes. It was a lizard and it was staring at me and I was terrified.
Now at this point in the story I should let you all in on something. I spent most of my summers growing up at camp. I've slept in the woods. I was a girl scout. I was a camp counselor for four years. I met my boyfriend at summer camp. I've had a chipmunk run across my bare feet before. And I hate creepy crawlies. You know what I mean. I get itchy at the sight of a spider, I get jumpy at the prospect of having to kill a giant centipede crawling down my wall, and apparently I cry when I see a lizard in my bedroom.
So here's what happened. I stared at it. It stared back. Both of us terrified of the other creature who had suddenly made its presence known. I started frantically typing to Sean, "LIZARD IN BEDROOM OMG WHAT DO I DO HOW DO I GET IT TO GO AWAY I JUST WANT TO GO TO SLEEP AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DYING OF GROSS LIZARD DISEASE!" (Which I apparently decided was a thing that could happen to me) Our conversation essentially goes like this:
Sean: Trap it in a bowl and set it free.
Elena: I DON'T HAVE ANY BOWLS MAKE IT GO AWAAAAAAAAAAAY.
Sean: Trap it in anything and set it free.
Elena: IT'S ON THE CEILING I CAN'T GET TO IT BECAUSE I'M SHORT AND KIND OF FREAKING OUT.
Sean: Take some deep breaths and ignore it and maybe it will go away.
Elena: IT'S STARING AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
So it eventually crawled back into the hole from whence it came and I thought all was right again with the world. Until about ten minutes later it got brave again and poked its little head out of the hole.
"Go away!" I said to it in my best calm and lizard-scolding voice.
We were obviously still both terrified. It was clear that I was going to have to spend the night locked in a room with this lizard. I had considered the option of being protected by mosquito netting, except that my mosquito netting has a large, gaping hole in it. (Effective, I know) So I zipped up my backpack and duffel bag, ensuring that no lizard could infiltrate it and open up a hopping lizard night club in my toiletries bag. Then, I thought about what I could do. Eventually I adopted the strategy of wrapping myself in my sheet (even though I was hot from worrying about the lizard) and falling asleep by the light of the computer. Like a little kid with a nightlight, I was hoping that my magical computer light would ward off the enemy long enough to allow me to fall asleep.
I slept fitfully, waking up every so often to make sure there wasn't a lizard up my nose or something and in the morning..he was gone. Or at least, he was not in the spot he was in before.
So here's to you, mister lizard friend. Wherever you are. (Please don't say you're in my backpack.)