Saturday, January 16, 2010

Troilus and Cressida

Video of a reading of Motherless Soul.

Next week is my signing at Park Road Books in Charlotte. If anyone is in that area it would be great if you would drop by between 3 and 5.

But this week I’m turning sixty and that has caused me to reflect somewhat on some of the interesting parts of my life. Perhaps I should say our life, since my wife and I have shared everything since we were married in our early twenties. Some of our stories are worth repeating.

We received an odd wedding present in 1972, a couple of months after the ceremony. The gift was a pair of Desert Iguanas that Toni’s cousin had brought back from a college trip with his biology department. At the time I had a minor role in one of Shakespeare’s plays, Troilus and Cressida, so we named the lizards after the title characters.

These Iguanas do not get as huge as the green ones and they certainly don’t have reputations for biting off fingers as the others do. Ours only grew about fourteen to fifteen inches long and that was mostly tail. As I remember, they existed on a diet of mealworms along with lettuce and a few other greens, so (except for vet bills) they weren’t very expensive to keep.

My wife used to move around our apartment with Troilus and Cressida riding on her shoulders and often climbing to the top of her head. If someone knocked on our door she would forget they were up there and at least once she gave our neighbor quite a fright.

I had fixed a home for them in an aquarium that had a light on a timer. T & C would walk around their glass house when the light was on and stay absolutely still when it was off. If one of the Iguanas was in the process of taking a step when the light went off he (or she) would stop immediately with his (or her) leg raised up for the entire night. When the light came on in the morning the lizard would finish the step.

Another odd fact about them was that they had holes in the sides of their heads that were covered by thin membranes. I assumed these were ears, but I don’t know that for sure. We could look through one of those holes and see light and blurry objects on the other side.

We heard that we could put them in our refrigerator if we were planning to be away for an extended period of time and they would go into hibernation. Then we could take them out when we returned and they would be fine. But we never had the nerve to try that.

It might be fun to write a story about lizards sometime, just a thought.

1 comment:

  1. These reflections could turn into a great story. I already have the image of your wife walking around with them on her head. And that stopping mid-foot is so bizarre. I'd be curious what woudl go on in the mind of a lizard when that happens! Sorry I didn't make it out to your reading. It was kind of an off day after week of running around dealing with real world stuff and the first day I had alone in my house for a while so I was trying to get back into writing mode. I hope you had a good and responsive crowd.