Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Gecko Chronicles

Here’s what just happened: I walked into Petco, bundled up in my long black down coat and crazy woolen knit hat and the guy at the counter – the one with the pierced eyebrow – looked up from the register at me and said, “Crickets?”

He got on the intercom and, without my even having to specify my order, asked that someone please bring up a bag of “fifteen large crickets, please.” Within two minutes another Petco employee was handing me my crickets and ushering me over to an open register. His hand hovered over the keyboard because he knows that I do have a Petco card (which entitles me to cents off on each cricket) but that I never have it with me (because I lost it a year ago) and he’s waiting for me to recite my phone number so he can punch it in and call up my account. He knows this, just as readily as Pierced Eyebrow knows that my gecko is too finicky to eat the pre-bagged crickets that are displayed in the aisle across from the register. That my gecko needs crickets that have been free to roam among their brethren for as long as possible, crickets that haven’t given up the good fight yet, so that my gecko can chase them around a bit and feel like he’s actually hunting his prey – even though he’s probably the world’s laziest reptile.

“I just have to go on record,” I said to my Petco clerk, “that while I’m impressed by your customer service efforts, it’s a little disheartening that as soon as I walk through the door everyone knows I’m here for crickets.”

He smiles.

“I mean, it’s really nice and all, but I never thought my life would come to this: being known as The Cricket Lady.”

“Oh, you’re not the only one,” he said. “You’re not The Cricket Lady. You’re just A Cricket Lady.”

Which he said (I’m absolutely certain) to make me feel better. But for some reason, had the exact opposite effect.

Note: The Gecko Chronicles are not posted sequentially, but you can find them all batched in a tidy little group at the left.

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