Although I am a city dweller, I am not entirely deprived of Nature’s other creatures. There is a gecko in my bedroom. I have seen him only once – when I was closing my bedroom window against the impending rain. My bedroom has a sliding window with a screen. There he was, scrambling between the window and the screen to escape the prison I was about to make. I welcomed him in, and quick as a wink, he was behind my bookcase.
Each night when I turn off the light and settle for sleep he chirps three times to me from behind the bookcase and in response I say, “Good night, Cutie Pie.” The silly name just came out the first night, something evidently from my long ago childhood. But last night his chirps came from closer to the door. I think he is leaving.
I also found a cockroach lying on his back in my bathroom. Cockroaches are not cutie pies. I really don’t like them, but after living in New York and knowing they are prehistoric, I have learned not to throw a fit when I see one. They only show up in my bathroom, and I like to believe they are really palmetto bugs that have flown in through the only porthole window that a flying creature could blunder into.
I briefly wondered if geckos tackle roaches, dismissed the thought and helped the roach to its final rest.
This season, for the first time that I recall, flies have found a stopping off place in my apartment when I leave the door to the balcony open. Being on the fifth floor where it is often windy, this surprises me. I wonder if geckos consider flies food. I hope so. He is as close to a pet as I will have in the city, and even though I rarely see him, I like having him around. Watching the birds on my balcony peck at the bananas I have put out is a pleasure, too. Some birds – especially the small blue finches – share or take turns companionably. The larger birds quarrel about who goes first. Since I am the biggest bird of all, I chase them away when a blue finch is patiently waiting. I have learned to respect the intelligence of birds. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to brains.
I notice that the dog population has increased in this neighborhood, even though my building has a no-pets policy, I know there was a dog here for a while. Across the street the horses that work at Sabana park occasionally graze in the vacant lot there. They keep the grass from growing too high.
That is the extent of the life in my apartment, except for the large reddish ants that think they are roaches since they come out in my kitchen and only at night. No mosquitoes, scorpions, meandering snakes or large spiders that would totally freak me. When I see a rare little spider, before I leave the room, I tell him that if he is not gone by the time I return, he is in danger of being a dead spider. They usually disappear. Have you ever noticed that ‘dumb’ animals probably understand more languages than we do?
Recently I have been watching Turner Classic Movies — the Westerns, war movies, film noir, gangster and cop movies. Add to that the news of the many wars and uprisings, the torture and suffering that goes with them. And now there is a Web site on the social media that publishes any insult or criticism, true or not, about another person along with a picture the person may have posted on Facebook. I am coming to realize that human beings are as brutal and nasty, violent and uncivil as we ever were. Talk about wildlife. No wonder so many people prefer to keep company with Mother Nature’s other creatures.
I hope Cutie Pie has not left.