I always keep my camera on me.
Not in case I bump into breaking news or brush with celebrity fame.
It’s for those times I need to get rid of an animal.
Part I: The cat
Once, upon a dreary South Florida midnight, I approached my car, wondering and even fearing a little bit.
I stood there, peering deep into the darkness, when I saw two small spots of lights hovering above my car. I came closer, only to see a cat, perched on top of the trunk of my car, with fiery eyes. It walked around as if it owned the vehicle.
“Excuse me,” I say to the feline, “I need to drive my car. Would you mind getting off of it?”
No answer. Not even a “nevermore.” Stupid cat.
“Please,” I say. “Shoo! Get off! Is that a mouse I see over there? Run!”
“I’m a cat, so I’m better than you,” the cat thinks. “I’m staying right here.”
I don’t know what to do. I want to scare him off my car but I don’t want to hurt him. The solution? My camera.
Flash. Flash. Flash.
Ha! I scared him away.
“Ooh, you think you’re so suave,” the cat thinks. He rolls his eyes at me, then jumps into the street.
Lia: 1. The Animals: 0
Part II: The short-term visitor (the lizard)
Every night, I have to watch out for the dozens of lizards scaling the walls outside my apartment. They usually seem pretty happy where they are.
But the other day, when I opened the door, a little lizard came in. Maybe he knew I was going to be making stir fry for dinner; maybe he knew I was planning on watching episodes of 30 Rock on TV.
But he came in and crawled up and down the inside of the door post.
“Go back outside with your friends,” I advised. He was confused. A young lizard, he didn’t know what to do.
But my Kodak EasyShare CX7530 did.
I took a few flash photos, signaling to the lizard that he needed to leave the premises.
He left, and I slammed the door shut.
“Tell your friends not to come back,” I said.
Lia: 2. The Animals: 0.
Part III: The long-term visitor (another lizard)
I walked into my apartment while on the phone with Beth, getting the latest gossip from the Midwest.
“He went to the formal with – a lizard? Ew, get out!” I said into the phone.
A day or two after the previous incident, another lizard must not have gotten the memo. The four-legged friend was rapping, rapping at my apartment door. I must have been nearly napping and so faintly he came tapping that I scarce was sure I heard him. So he probably flung open the door and entered on his own.
I whipped out the camera to take a photo, but it only led the lizard farther into my apartment. It ran up the peach-colored wall, above my chamber door and to the corner of the living room. It hid behind a picture frame. I turned the lights on and off. I snapped more shots.
“No, the door is this way,” I tried to tell him.
I would have to trap the guy in order to get him out of there safely. What do I catch him in? I got a paper bowl and a Ziploc bag, but I wasn’t able to get him.
He ran onto the carpet, blending in, then hid underneath my printer. And the second I looked away, I lost him.
I looked under the couch and under the table, but still no lizard. Where did he go?
I’ll never find him. I’ll assume he’s here until I see him walk out the door; and even if he does, I can’t imagine he’ll have the decency to tell me he’s leaving, or if he’ll be home by curfew.
But at least this way I’m not completely alone in this apartment – I have a new roommate.
And, best of all, I saved 15 percent on car insurance.
Lia: 2. The Animals: 1.