Not a month ago, my husband told me he was feeling a bit overwhelmed caring for things and didn't want me to bring another thing into the house that needed looking after - not even a house plant. I was feeling a bit the same myself, still adapting to this hyperactive puppy I brought home last fall. And then last night...
My husband brought home a chameleon.
And a cage. And a light. And plants we have to soak with water spray. And crickets in a cage who also have to be dampened and fed and taken care of, so that they're fat and full of nutrients for the chameleon. And suddenly I'm the one feeling overwhelmed. It's not mine to care for, it's not my responsibility...but suddenly I have not one but about thirty new critters to worry about. Not to mention the few crickets who escaped while we were figuring out the system and ended up in the fireplace and down in the basement and who knows where else we'll find them.
He's a cute little thing, walking along his stick with great deliberation as if he's doing tai chi. What to name him? My son suggested Gene Simmons because of his astonishing tongue. I suggested Spock because of his funny cloven-looking feet. He remains as yet unnamed...as will the crickets.
He's really not that hard to care for, he's not too demanding, and he's fascinating to watch. I expect I'll stare at him more than at the TV this summer. So why the anxiety in my stomach? When I stop to analyze my trepidation, I realize it stems from two things: First, I was just gearing myself up to warp speed to keep up with my puppy, and then suddenly I have to decelerate to handle this tiny tai chi artist. It throws my equilibrium off. Am I meant to be speeding up or slowing down? And I worry that my inner tug is toward slowing down, letting myself stop and sit, which in my mind equals letting myself grow old. And I'm not ready for that yet. But at the same time, I worry that I can't rachet it up and summon the energy I need to face my future. Second: I was hoping to do some serious traveling soon, and it was hard enough thinking what to do with the dogs and the kids and the garden...and now the chameleon and the crickets. Is there a boarding kennel for reptiles? No neighbour or friend I know will want to handle crickets, quite frankly. It is a solvable problem, I'm sure, but just one more glitch to throw in the mix. One more thing to remind me how tied I am to this spot, this situation, this life. It's funny to think that a two-ounce little being can feel like an anchor.