Thursday, February 22, 2007

Window Dressings

Room with a view...and a zoo.

I opened my bedroom window yesterday morning only to be greeted by a small snake wound around the security grate and climbing vines. Up to now, a variety of birds, insects, and lizards have been the usual characters to take up residence at my window. But this reptile was different: about 1/4 meter (8-10 inches) long, with very distinctive white coloring with black stripes or bands running around it's head and girth. I usually don't think of snakes as beautiful, but this one came close with it's pure white skin and delicate thin black bands. For lack of a name, I dubbed my new resident the "zebra snake."

It was quite shy, and after taking a brief look at me, disappeared in a niche between the window and the frame (slight shudder: did that niche connect to inside the house somewhere?).

This morning before school, my friend, Au, stopped by to say "hello" (OK, to say "Sawadee khrap"). Au teaches fourth grade students at the local elementary school, and is quite limited in his English. I described my little zebra snake in detail to him (yeah, I know my colors and shapes in the Thai tongue by now).

I waited a full minute while he searched his data bank for the proper English words, and then gave up in exasperation. OK, looks like I was to get the dramatic version: He bugged his eyes, grabbed his throat, rolled his eyes back into his head, staggered backwards until he fell onto the sofa, then kicked his legs, and flailed his arms like in an epileptic seizure. Finally, he went limp with his tongue hanging out.

I clapped in appreciation. Bravo! What a show! Mission accomplished, Au jumped up and took his bow with a smile of satisfaction.

Wonder what he was trying to say?