Friday, September 21, 2007

A Lizard Kills a Stereotype

Shouts and commands from behind a walled compound yesterday had me carefully checking over the roof balustrade. It all sounded a bit urgent and well, commando-ish. The wall encloses a large park like area and through the trees I could see AK47 armed, headband wrapped men dashing forward and heading our way. I had to decide whether this was a training exercise or whether I should be thinking about making myself scarce. Just at the point I was thinking I needed to scamper someone called a drink break. Phew.

On another boundary a short time later the complete antithesis (there is a word for CT) with squeals of terror mixed with laughter getting my attention. That had me intrigued and when I checked it out I could barely contain my own laughter. There has been a lot of construction work next door and the place has been busy with burly, deeply tanned men, most of the them large and muscular, pouring concrete, shaping steel and sweating their hearts out in the sun. The site is now largely done and painters have been in. These blue singleted, bearded, tough men were squealing like 6 year old school girls (that stereotype remains) as they tried to get out of the way of a lizard. One of the men had managed to catch the reptile and was chasing his colleagues with it. They were all flapping their hands in horror, squealing and trying to get to vantage points such as truck decks or cabs. Any stereotype of construction workers, Arab or otherwise vanished in a heartbeat. And at the end the lizard was carefully let down in a shady pool of water, no doubt terrorised by his adventure with these guys. In a land of indiscriminate death it was nice to see the lizard get off lightly.

6 comments:

CT said...

I wonder what the lizard represents there, culturally. Here in Hawaii the lizard (mo`o) is a kind of protector god, an still respected and never killed (except maybe by an unknowing cat). The old saying goes, one should never crush the egg of a mo`o lest one should fall off a cliff.

Pickled Eel said...

Hi CT, I love that sort of local knowledge. Had not thought about this angle though in relation to Iraq. I will have to find out.

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