Cricket

Back when I lived in Colorado, during high school, I worked at a baseball stadium. This involved a variety of different jobs, including manning a cash register while drunkards staggered in and spent hundreds of dollars on cheap merchandise and then could barely sign their names on credit card receipts, to hawking wares in the stands, to charging people a dollar to spin a giant wheel where they may (very unlikely) win a prize.

It seemed like Colorado was always having plagues of one sort or another, and one year the plague was of crickets. Millions of crickets appeared out of nowhere, covering cars and counters and chirping away maddeningly all night long. At the stadium, I earned the nickname of Cricket because I would pick one up and put it on my shoulder and it would sing for me all night long.

Time passed and I moved away from Colorado and every time I moved somewhere new, I got a new nickname. But Cricket was always one of my favourites…

So flash forward more than a decade (I’m old 😦 ) to our first night in Kenya, where I was teaching this field course. “Do you hear that noise?” I asked another instructor, “Kind of a squeaky noise? Like something rubbing?”

He looked at me like I was crazy.

“It sounds like it is just coming from behind my shoulder,” I said looking around behind me. But there was nothing there.

No one else heard the noise, so I tried to ignore it. Later that night, in the middle of a conversation at dinner, a cricket jumped out of my hair, smacked another instructor in the face, and fell to the floor. “Aha!” I shouted.

The other instructor admitted that he had thought I was legitimately insane, but I thought it was a magical thing, in spite of a third instructor (the one who had been smacked in the face by the cricket) claiming it was quite ordinary and that I was making too big a fuss about it.

I just felt pleased to recall my old friendship with the crickets, and to have one sing for me again, albeit hidden in my hair instead of riding on my shoulder.

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