In which I resist the urge to scream

My friend living in Taiwan blogged recently about the gecko living in their house.  She is low key about its presence in her house.  In the Dominican Republic when I spotted lizards basking in the sun on rock walls, I thought of her pet gecko, and was glad that the Dominican lizards were comfortably outdoors and did not seem especially inclined to move.

When it was time to head back to the USA, we went through the usual airport security screening.  An outdoor x-ray of our bags.  An indoor screening with shoes off and various items taken out of bags.  Then there was a wait to get on the plane. After all this screening and waiting and walking, the last thing I expected to see when I got on the plane was a lizard.

But when I walked to my seat on the plane and leaned over to hoist my bag into the upper bin, there he was.  A three inch long pale green lizard sitting on the top zipper of my carry-on bag, looking at me beady-eyed..

I gasped.

Resisted the urge to scream.

Wished my camera was in my hand instead of in the compartment that he was sitting on.

Then I tried to figure out the proper thing to do.  What is the best way to get a lizard off a plane?  Make a mad dash up to the front of the plane and let the little guy off outside?

But people were still getting on the plane — I’d be fighting traffic to get to the front.  What if he ran away before I got to the door?  Or- horrors – climbed up my arm?

Perhaps throwing a jacket over him might be a better option.   But my jacket was in the same compartment that my camera was.   Under the lizard.

Next option:  look helpless and hope a man comes to my assistance.  (I’m brave like that.)  But no one was paying the slightest attention to my dilemma.  Looking around I exclaimed, “There’s a lizard on my bag!”

No reaction.

This time I made eye contact with the people in the row behind me.  “A lizard!  There’s a lizard on my bag!”

A Dominican grandmother caught me gesturing at my bag and helpfully tried to zip it shut more completely, not even seeing the little lizard.   I gasped and pointed, trying not to get too close lest he leap like a louse.

Her eyes widened.  Then in one quick motion she flicked the little guy off my bag and onto the floor, where he scuttled toward the back of the plane and disappeared under a seat.

Problem solved.

Alrighty then.

After I shut my mouth and thanked the woman and put away my bag, I sat down and tried very hard not to think about the little guy skittering around under the seats as I sat there for the next two hours.

This little lizard is going to America.


  1. When I first moved to Taiwan I’d never even heard of the word gecko–I thought it was a Chinese word for awhile!!!. OH, I knew all about lizards. We’d had tons of them living with us in Ethiopia, where I grew up. But there we called them lizards. In Taiwan we called them geckos!!!!

  2. Oh dear! glad y’all are back safely. We’ve been reading and praying!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I found your plight quite humorous.

    I used to catch lizards when I was growing up.

  4. Hilarious!!! Well, hilarious for me… I’m not the one with the lizard on my bag!

  5. I hope the lizard made it through Customs.

  6. He’s an illegal alien!

  7. Loved that story! I kept up with your trip via Pioneer Woman. It sounds like a wonderful trip. Hope that lizard didn’t follow you home!

  8. I think we should call him Fivel and wait for his animated cinematic debut.

  9. I needed a good laugh, and there it was!!! I laughed uproariously and felt all the better for it. Wonder how that little lizard is enjoying America…?

  10. lol… I am sorry I dont mean to laugh because I am so with you… although my son had one when he was a teenager and we had a face down one day when I was trying to get to the laundry room.

    Thank you for blogging about your trip to DR it was truly eye opening and so what I wanted to know about what it was like there.


  11. Illegal reptiles are ruining America. I can’t believe you let him stowaway.

    😉 Welcome back, Mary.

    And to America’s newest lizard? Beware the freeway.

  12. Oh, cute! I am afraid I would have caught the little bugger and um… done something with him! 😀 My kids would have loved him at home. My husband would not have loved him.

  13. I wouldn’t have been able to put my feet down on the floor the entire flight home! And Kelly’s “Beware the freeway” – SNORT out loud funny!

  14. OH MY WORD! I would have had a hard time suppressing my screams I think. I can just hear my muffled terror.

    But oh if that lizard only knew how many wished they could so easily stow away and make their way to America.

  15. I have a lizard who lives on my patio behind the planter with the tomatoes. I think he’s the reason I didn’t get tomato worms this year. I’m actually rather fond of him. 🙂

    ps. Check out the post I just put up. There are more kids needing help.

  16. Excellent story though I have to ask if you ever managed to relax throughout the flight after your encounter?!

  17. You didn’t bring it home for your children! 😉

  18. I used to go visit my cousin all the time when she lived in Ewa Hawaii while her husband was stationed there.. and in her house there always little lizards on the wall! worse yet, they would die and fall off and she would have to pick them up and throw them out!! ew!

  19. Girl, you’re stronger than me because there is no way I could have resisted the urge to scream! Everyone on the plane would have known that there was a lizard on my bag. Too funny. Glad you’re home safely.

  20. Ok, this made me laugh. You’ve got the sequel to the B movie: Snakes on a Plane: Lizards on a Jet!

  21. Welcome home Mary! The last night that I was in Ethiopia, a gecko made its way in the house. That was not unusual, but since we were leaving the next day, we decided to get rid of it. Well, after chasing it around with a broom (the darn things can climb walls and everything!), it managed to scurry between the wall and the (cemented-in) cabinet….I was a little bit nervous that whole night that I would feel little feet running over me while I slept…

  22. I actually survived the flight without too much anxiety– only because God protected me from thinking of the possibility of the lizard climbing up inside my pants leg. Hubby mentioned that after I got home and I shuddered just thinking about it!

  23. I’m so happy you made it home, I really enjoyed your posts from last week. I’m not a lizard lover either, they are way to snake-y for me.
    I was so moved by you and your fellow blogger’s posts last week, I sponsored two little girls through Compassion. I truly wanted to sponsor ALL of them!

  24. I wonder if there are special immigration papers for lizards…. 🙂

  25. That’s hilarious! Hope he survives the trip!

    It took me a bit to get used to always showering…and peeing…with lizards in the DR. Seems that they liked both the shower walls and the outhouse. 😉

  26. Glad the grandmother was there to help you! : )

  27. That would make a great movie. A tropical lizard explores the midwest… hmm.

    I have to admit, I thought the same thing as your husband. I hope it was a calm person who eventually had the lizard skitter up his or her pant leg. Or maybe it just went to hang out in the cargo pit.

  28. What a great story! I’ve really enjoyed reading about your trip, too. Thanks for sharing so wonderfully about your experiences.

    I’ve tagged you to “share 7 favorite things about your kitchen.” Forgive me, but I had to. I really would be interested in seeing your favorite things! The picture of your pantry full of beautiful canned goods still makes me smile!

  29. Oh I bet he was a cutie, too. Sounds like an anole.

    Just be grateful you didn’t go to Costa Rica, like my brother, who came home with tales of giant iguanas crawling around the rafters of the open-air houses, pooping down onto the table, and monkeys who would swoop down upon your stack of pancakes and help themselves… ;o)

  30. I loved reading about your trip to the Dominican Republic and the lizard story is great! Welcome back

  31. Did you have any mischievous members of the team on the flight with you? I might get a little suspicious myself —
    Thanks for all the great posts this week!

  32. You made me laugh out loud for the first time today!! Thank you!

  33. Arriving once on a flight from Bogotá to Miami I spied a lizard on a seat as I was moving up the aisle toward the exit. I scooped the little guy up in my camera pouch, but a stewardess saw me and thought I was trying to smuggle reptiles into the States.

    I never did find out if they put the little bugger safely on the next flight home.