With only a few weeks until our child is born, we don’t go out late on Friday nights any more. By 10:30 my wife was asleep and I was strolling through the darkened apartment, going to brush my teeth. Something scampered across the kitchen worktop, and for a moment I thought I’d spied our resident cockroach but the shimmy of the legs made me realize it was a gecko.
A large gecko, sandy yellow in colour, that was hiding behind the stepladder for a moment, before scurrying away. I like geckos. In fact, I’m happy with most lizards that are too small to eat me. Geckos, keeping themselves to themselves and only really getting going at night feel like they should be emblematic of Singapore, although you have to doubt their commitment to a steady job in an office. You don’t see many geckos on the MRT first thing in the morning. But perhaps they’re too rich to work; is it any coincidence that Michael Douglas played a financier called Gordon Gekko?
What geckos like is staying up late, like the solitary basketballer beneath our flat. After ten o’clock at night, I hear him dribbling a ball around the unlit rooftop court that lies on top of the hawker centre. I suppose he couldn’t really play in the daytime, when the direct sun must turn the court into a medieval torture instrument, but it’s strange that he should be there on his own at night; it can’t be much of a game. If only I could train a team of geckos to go down and play with him.
This evening we walked around Club Street and ate a pizza, then meant to play a board game but instead watched at interview with Mary Beard where I learned about Roman statues festooned with penises. Almost like garnishes on a salad: here’s a bust of an eminent Roman – let’s just bash a little set of genitalia on it, half way down a marble column. I’m not sure if it was intended as an insult or a boast, or somebody with a time machine and a grudge against Victorians. Still, it’s something to think about, as I prowl my apartment in the dark.
Not that I spend all my nights walking around, thinking of Roman penises, surrounded by tiny lizards.