Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 18 January 2012


The alarm is set for 6 a.m. I’m still waking to La bloody Traviata. It’s irritating, but it’s the best of a dreadful bunch. Other choices include the cancan, the Toreador Song and Für Elise, all of them played at not quite the right tempo. Especially Für Elise. Had he not gone deaf, Beethoven would have poked out his ear drums with a sharpened quill rather than listen to this version. I know this for a fact.

But I digress.

I hit snooze on the alam, but I usually don’t have to worry too much about oversleeping. At some time between 6 and 6.30 a.m. — possibly summoned by the merry electronic din that approximates Verdi’s drinking song — a Lewin’s honeyeater lands on the flyscreen of the bedroom window to pick out insects and spiders. I don’t know if you’ve been within a metre of a Lewin’s honeyeater when it calls...

But it’s not only the noise, it’s also the judgemental stare: Why am I still supine when there is work to be done?

It is a sad state when you are looked down upon by something that steals dead months from spider webs.

- o O o -

Not that I like to anthromorphise, as you know, but I suspect those introduced cockroaches are capable of not only rational thought, but also an ability to plan. Exhibit One: archy. Exhibit Two: a well-considered strategy for gaining entry to the house.

Native cockroaches — of which there are many species in the rainforest — tend to sit on the door and window panes, not doing very much at all. Introduced cockroaches are different. They insinuate themselves between screen door and main kitchen door. This means that when I slide open the main door, they have access to the kitchen. And you know how fast Periplaneta can run.Sometimes they fly.

They used to have to slip under the weather strip along the spine of the screen door. It wasn’t much of a barrier, but it was something. Now they simply scuttle through the cockroach-sized gap kicked in the flyscreen by the brush turkeys. With turkeys and cockroaches in cahoots, it is clear that I can never win.

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