Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Tropics, After All

It has been unusually cold of late. While your correspondant cannot actually report what February in Guatemala is supposed to be like, having not lived one before, we are in the tropics after all, and some members of the embassy community are a bit bummed by the non-tropical temperatures. The Guatemalans are taking it particularly hard, as they wander the streets wearing fur-lined parkas and stocking caps (really), perhaps slightly under-dressed for an expedition to the North Pole, but definitely ready for another day where the overnight low dips dangerously near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cold weather is hardest of all on those who can least protect themselves, and those interested in escaping the chill seek the warm indoors. Your correspondant was awakened from the warmth of his down comforter last night at 2:00 in the morning by an unusual pinch on his wrist. His harrowing story may not be appropriate for readers under 13 or the otherwise faint of heart:

It was a small but firm pinch on my wrist, sending a sharp pain up my arm. Even as I awoke I was shaking my wrist to wrench it out of the grip of the assailant. I looked down and could make out in the darkness a writhing form which I instinctively took a swipe at, knocking the intruder onto the floor. I turned on the light and saw my adversary, a creature who may have simply been trying to get away from the cold of the outdoors, but nonetheless was one of the creepier looking bugs I have had the misfortune to see. While the staff photographer was not available, this composite sketch presents one artist's rendering of the horrible, black, fuzzy beast. I warned my wife to avert her gaze, lest the creature upset her delicate temperament. (Once I donned my glasses and could be certain it was not a spider, I allowed her a brief glimpse of the spectacle of such a cursed being.) Leaping into action while my adversary remained stunned, I grabbed a shoe and prepared to pounce. My wife, as so often does the fairer sex in their ignorance of combat, begged me to spare the life of the wretched thing, at least insofar as it would cause a great mess on our much-admired hardwood floors. Estimating there to be at least a pint of cold blood in the beast, I admitted that discretion is the better part of valor, and instead presented the now-ambulatory beast with a magazine. Being vicious but none-too-bright, the creature fell for the ruse. He charged straight at me and directly onto the Year-in-Review issue of Blender. The game was clearly won, and I grabbed the magazine and held it out the window. I admit that in a moment of masochism, I savored the victory for a moment and bid the invader to contemplate his defeat before inverting the magazine and allowing the foul wretch to plummet to the street, six stories below.

The next morning, no remains of the creature were found on the sidwalk or street, which only confirms the fact that this was some variety of other-worldly opponent -- an undead caterpillar who may yet return to haunt our bedchamber when next the temperature drops to 51 degrees.

1 comment:

EEK! said...

Oh jumping CHRIST - that is more horrifying than the camel crickets that teem our basement of a summer.

Parkas at 50 degrees? Reminds me of San Francisco.