Thursday, 03 March 2016

Failure to say no

A failure to say no leads Jane Green and her delicate disposition to an exposition of snakes and their tattooed enthusiasts

Written by Jane Green
Roaches were not enough to satisfy Twin A on the pet front, and Twin A has not, as I had hoped, forgotten about the bearded dragon. He burst into my office bouncing with excitement that a huge reptile expo was coming to town. Not our town, exactly, but a few towns away, and there were going to be tons of perfect bearded dragons from which to choose, and they, unlike the ones found at our local pet store, would, almost certainly, not be carrying the dreaded metabolic bone disorder.

Sometimes in life, as a mother, there are things you have to say yes to, even though every fibre of your body is screaming ‘nooooo!’. This was one of those occasions. There was no getting out of it, and so Twin A, and three of his closest friends (each of whom is both as sweet and as non-mainstream as he is) piled into the car, chattering excitedly about what I came to call Lizardpalooza.

It was held in a wonderful old 1930s Deco building in New York. Lines of people snaked (Ha! No pun intended!) around the corner, and we joined the back as I dubiously eyed up the crowd. Lizard-loving people, it turns out, also love tattoos. And interesting hair colours. And piercings that involve discs in their ear the size of small saucers.

It was not a natural environment for a delicate writer such as myself. I decided to think of it as research and, once we got inside, looked around with interest at what I might find.

Mice were the first thing I found. Frozen and dead, laid out on tables. Next to them were snakes. Thousands of snakes. Big snakes. Tiny snakes. Snakes that would eat your dog. And possibly your husband too. There were chameleons and dragons and geckos and tarantulas and iguanas and so, so many snakes.

We eventually settled on a sweet little bearded dragon, bought all the accoutrements it would need and, with great relief, left Lizardpalooza in search of some Chinese food to take my mind off all the horror I had just witnessed. Those boys were not horrified though. They were absolutely delighted.

Ziggy, for the bearded dragon has now been named in honour of my first love, David Bowie (no, I did not have a relationship with him; he knew nothing about my teenage infatuation), is now happily basking under a large UV light in his tank in Twin A’s bedroom.

There is a large plastic bin next to Ziggy containing hundreds of Dubious Roaches. I was hoping we could start making headway with getting rid of the Dubious Roaches, but apparently they are far too big for a young bearded dragon to eat, but they will start breeding soon.

I have no idea what I have got myself into. But I wish I was better at saying no.

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