Some people exclaim that nature welcomes them in their own backyard or at their doorstep. In my case, nature comes at me without warning in my kitchen. When I wake up in the middle of the night for a glass of water, sometimes a spider is lurking underneath my dish rack, waiting for the right moment to make nightmares a reality. On the days I less-than-thoroughly clean my kitchen floors, a pile of red ants is ready to feast upon my leftovers and my toes as I try to mitigate the mess with rags, bug spray, and baby powder. However, the most common culprit-creatures of my kitchen are the geckoes and cockroaches, the former squirming out of crevices without warning and leaving me unsuspecting poop piles to step on, while the latter has no qualms crawling over my feet as I try to function in my cooking space.
One evening this week, Mother Nature does not disappoint, as I jump away from my stove due the scurrying touch of cockroach legs over my toes. Physical contact with one of my kitchen's frequent visitors prompts my usual reaction: scream, scrub my feet clean as I shudder at a mental replay of the whole thing, and retrieve a cup to trap the cockroach under and leave behind for hours until I muster up the strength to transport it outside (yes, I'm such a trooper).
Three minutes and a quick bucket shower later, I return to my kitchen with a plastic cup, only to find the scene of the crime mai sai cockroach. "Oh, you sneaky little bastard," I mentally mutter. I turn around and freeze at the sight of what I can only describe as a National-Geographic-worthy showdown of Cockroach vs. Gecko in my kitchen hallway:
The bloodthirsty tokay-gecko, feet firmly sticking to a kitchen wall, keeps its mouth clamped onto the body of a Thai cockroach, struggling to break free from the gecko's clutches and make its escape to the kitchen's floor, where an overanxious American female waits with a camera in one hand and a cup in the other hand. The battle between predator and prey intensifies with every shake of the tokay-gecko's tail and every twitch of the cockroach's legs until suddenly---- until suddenly, I realize that I'm getting carried-away with the mental narrations and leave nature to run its course as I resume dinner preparations on my stovetop. Fifteen food-preparing minutes pass, and I take a peek at the wall opposite my bathroom: the gecko has left the building, and the absence of the cockroach leaves me to assume that the gecko thoroughly enjoyed its prey.
As I walk towards my kitchen sink, I briefly reconsider my reservations towards geckoes: They have proven to be reliable insect-removal creatures... And they are cute to look at... Maybe I'm not giving these organisms enough credit. Maybe I could learn to live with -- *SPLAT* I stop dead in my tracks, lift my right foot, and again shudder in disgust: the squished half of a cockroach carcass and some specks of what I suspect to be gecko poop. I waddle back to my bathroom for another round of creature clean-up, and mid-scrubbing hear a slight squeak that I can only imagine is the cockroach's upper-half giggling from the heavens at the sight of me in defeat. As usual, in the battle of PCV vs. Mother Nature, my kitchen-critters have the last laugh.