"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
guest Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English gest, from Old Norse gestr; akin to Old English giest guest, stranger, Latin hostis stranger, enemy
1 a : a person entertained in one's house b : a person to whom hospitality is extended c : a person who pays for the services of an establishment (as a hotel or restaurant)
2 : an organism (as an insect) sharing the dwelling of another
3 : what used to appear with disturbing regularity in my daughter's bedroom
"Wham!" It slammed against the side of the aquarium, all teeth and jaw, so hard that the entire container jolted on the floor.
And I thought, "Gee, that isn't a lizard, is it?"
This happened about six years ago or so, and by that time the idea of huge reptiles in my home, although still not palatable (it never would be) was at least something I had resigned myself to. Which was a good thing, since no level of protest from me made any difference whatsoever to the stream of bizzare creatures that made their way upstairs in my house.
It had started when an ex-boyfriend of my daughter had abandoned his pet snake with a family member that had no idea or inclination to care for it. By the time my daughter found out about it, it had been trapped in a wooden box for weeks with only a little bit of food, and no one had even cleaned it out. To add to that horrible situation, someone had spilled paint thinner on the snake. Over the weeks, he had gotten mouth rot and his lower jaw had a hole literally rotted in it.
Yeah, I know, that's way more gross than I usually put in this blog. But even with all of that, I'm still thinking "It's a blinking snake!" And not just a snake, but a fifteen foot long snake.
Yeah, toss that on the neighbor's lawn and see what happens.
She swears on everything she can think of that she is only going to nurse it back to health and then find a home for it. I figure, how attached can she get to a snake?
Well, her new boyfriend builds this huge cage for the thing in her bedroom, so big that when we finally move it we have to saw it into pieces. The cage, not the snake, btw. And then "Zeus" the Burmese python becomes a permanent houseguest until my daughter moved out years later.
There were trying times with Zeus. All the abuse had almost blinded him, yet he had been raised on live food. With his eyes all messed up, he would try to kill it and fail, and this led to several very distressed and tearful moments for my daughter as she had to pick up where the snake left off.
You think taking care of a dog builds character, you ain't seen nothing.
And not once did she ever give up, she kept trying and kept trying till she found something that worked, finally settling on frozen rats which she would defrost in our sink.
Yeah, more grossness. I won't go into the initial "Honey, what's defrosting for dinner?" scene.
The next guest invited into our home was Myrna the Monitor Lizard. Again, someone's cast off pet, my daughter took it in and carefully fed it crickets and occasionally let it run around in the yard. Understand, I use the word "run" figuratively here, it was more like a slow crawl accompanied by a lot of tongue activity.
Then came "Hera." Hera was another Burmese python and even bigger than Zeus. Someone had dumped poor Hera in the James River about 50 miles upstream from Richmond, and she had made her way through falls and rapids, even getting shot and ripped open, before the animal control people captured her here. I guess they got her into a cage, and someone said "What are we gonna do with this thing?" And of course someone answered "Well, I know this girl..."
I got to build the stand for that one.
It seemed like ever few weeks new cages and aquariums would appear in her room. She even figured out how to raise her own "food" for the snakes, something I would never have had the heart to do.
Then, one day she asked me to fix something on her computer. I walked into her bedroom and got down to crawl under her desk when our newest houseguest attacked me.
I had not really noticed him, thinking he was just another monitor lizard. But when he slammed into the glass right next to my head with his mouth all wide open and a huge hiss coming from his throat, well, this wasn't a lizard.
No, not a lizard at all.
It was an alligator. And its name was Elvis.
She kept it about six months or so until it really got too much to handle. This wasn't like the rest of her animals, this was all teeth and tail and mean. Every time I went into her room I was greeted with a hiss and a charge.
And sometimes it would growl.
Elvis and I never really hit it off.
Finally we found a reptile farm not too far away that was eager to take Elvis off our hands. My daughter made a big wooden box, and her and her then boyfriend (the fourth or fifth since Zeus arrived, I think, she'd get them to build stuff then toss them out for a fresh one) dropped Elvis into his bus and nailed the top down, and off they went to alligator happy valley.
Now she has moved out and has her own home, and still has her unique taste in pets. At least they're not here.
You know, it never was a really nice moment to come home and find one of the tanks open and the occupant missing...
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), Parts of Animals