If you’re living your life right, you learn from your experiences and are taught a few lessons. And, for me living in KSA has taught me a number of things. I won’t talk about all of them now or you’ll be reading for days. But one of the big ones is bravery, in a chicken sort of way. That’s right, in a chicken sort of way. I can tell you that I have always been a chicken, even as an adult. Not something to be proud of yet I’m not ashamed. It was only in the last two years that I’d turn the lights off at night. I used to leave the TV on a Qur’an channel making sure it was loud enough to be heard in my bedroom as well as by anyone walking by at night. I’d lock my bedroom door at night, as if no one could get it open. After all, if they managed to get inside the apartment, wouldn’t they be able to get into my room? That being the case, maybe even “chicken” is an understatement. So how did KSA bring about this new found bravery?
Let’s see, where should I begin? Since it’s been mentioned by more than one person in the past week, I guess I should mention my new found ability to kill things, geckos in particular. And trust me it was a long, dark road getting to this point. At first I didn’t think anything of them. I’m from a northern state and we don’t have geckos or lizards of any kind unless you buy them in a pet store. I still can’t figure out why anyone would want one for a pet. Anyway, I used to see them on the balcony and I was always afraid one would come inside. So, on the advice of a friend, I boiled some water. She said if I threw the hot water on it, it would be stunned and then I could kill it. Well, I decided to try it one day. I boiled water in one of those little Arabic coffee pots, the little red ones you find everywhere. I boiled the water and went out onto the balcony. I attempted to throw the water. And, to my dismay the water hit everything but that nasty gecko. Oh and the pot flew with the water. Not quite part of the plan. In the end I was only holding the handle. Oops. That didn’t work out I guess. And just to show how chicken I was, I left the pot out there. I didn’t even bother trying to get it. It was the last time I would try to kill a gecko for a while.
Over time, I tried to work up the courage to kill one. I wasn’t ready to give up. I saw one in my apartment and knew I didn’t have time to boil water. Besides, the last time I didn’t do so well with that anyway. I grabbed a broom and started swinging. I hit everything but the gecko. Kinda like the water incident =). I ended up with several dents in the walls and a gecko that got away. I’m sure he was laughing at me the whole time, that devil! So I gave up, again, until last summer.
I was teaching at YUC and had been using the same room for all of my classes. It was cool and the projector worked. And if you know anything about our experience in the last building, having both of those things in the same room was not a guarantee. Anyway, one day I was teaching and I saw a gecko on the back wall. The students noticed that I was distracted and turned to look. I watched its every move. That thing stayed in the room for several days. But when he made his way to my area at the front of the class, I knew I had to do something. I tried to psych myself up saying, “You have to do it. Don’t be a chicken.” Of course, I still was. So, thinking about my friend’s advice, I thought I’d try again with water. But I decided to take a different approach. I filled my water gun with water. I thought, “I’ll shoot it with the water gun, it’ll fall off and I’ll smack it with my shoe.” So I went to the room. Students were sitting outside and of course they thought I was crazy walking around with a water gun. I shared my plan with them and one brave soul stayed inside with me. I sprayed and sprayed and that industrial strength thing wouldn’t fall off the wall. So, my student offered to keep shooting it with the water gun. She kept shooting it and it fell to the ground. Yay! Of course I screamed, but that’s beside the point. I took my shoe and I hit that SOB with every bit of strength I had in me. For as hard as I hit, I think I have some unresolved anger issues. I screamed again but I also jumped with joy. It was an embarrassing display and somehow I wasn’t at all embarrassed.
One of my students, and she knows who she is, was traumatized by the event. She called me a murderer. She said that soon I wouldn’t be able to stop. I didn’t mind. I was so proud of myself. I called my family to let them know. They laughed at me, but again I didn’t mind. I went on to kill several geckos after that, even posted my fail proof method for killing geckos on Facebook. How does this make me brave? I used to use half a can of bug spray to kill a single bug. If there were a big bug in a room I’d close the door and wait for it to die several days later before going in again. So, to kill a gecko was a huge deal. I’ve come a long way.
I almost feel like a big girl now and I owe it all to living in KSA.