Friday, March 25, 2011

Jiminy Cricket!

Today I got in a cab and was ready to listen to my "Inspiration" song list during the ride. It has some great tunes on it collected from my best friends and I will share it with you one of these days.

However as soon as I got in the cab I heard this creaking noise. My first thought was that the meter was stuck or broken or something and the driver was going to try to overcharge me.

Oh I am so jaded. Because the driver was the kindest person I was going to meet all day.

The creaking noise was coming from none other than his pet cricket!

"Guo Guo" crawls around on the dash, sits on the steering wheel -

And doesn't fall off when the driver turns the wheel -

The driver bought Guo Guo in November and although it's very hard for crickets to survive the winter, this hardy little guy did. Crickets like this usually don't live more than six months so Guo Guo is in his twilight days. God bless him.

He eats just a few shreds of vegetables every day and otherwise is no trouble at all. Except that he did start wandering towards the backseat today and I had to ask the driver to get his animal under control. Because I was having visions of Guo Guo crawling up my pant leg and me flailing around in panic and crushing him to death. That would have been bad.

It was so cute to watch the driver and his pet play during the drive. Guo Guo sings. The driver picks him up and holds him in his palm. The cricket crawls up on the driver's sleeve. The driver strokes his wings.

Then we nearly side-swiped a Hyundai.

I guess between the roaming cricket and me leaning up from the back seat to snap pictures of him, it was a ride fraught with peril. Anyway I made it home safely and after saying good-bye to the driver and Guo Guo I chirped my own little song as I walked to the door.

Alright now seriously imagine Guo Guo was crawling up your pant leg. Would you have the presence of mind to gently shake him back out or do you think you would flail around and crush him? Tell the truth, in the comments section.


Sin-Yaw Wang said...

Beijingers have a long tradition of cultivating crickets. In fact, there are many books on the subject. I knew a friend who is a professional there. CCTV used to run a program on how people captured and "trained" crickets for games.

Anonymous said...

That is a seriously BIG cricket!
I'd flail & crush, too. Keep that thing in the front seat, please!

Anonymous said...

Firstly I love reading your blog, only new to it. I must get to China one day as I took Mandarin for one semester a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Have been to Japan twice with my daughter and am studying Japanese for my degree but I do miss Mandarin (except the tones :) ) Anyway! Your cricket story is wonderful. He looked fake at first because he is so big!

Thank you for your blog,


Melanie Gao said...

Thanks Anon, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one!

Nice to have you here Jennifer! I hope you do come to China one day soon. Every day is a new adventure. :)

Melanie Gao said...

Sin-Yaw, professional cricket trainers? I want that job! Except, wait, would I have to touch them?

An said...

Flail and crush. I am squeamish.

Ironically, I really wanted to be an entomologist. I think insects are fascinating, but only when they are contained.

Melanie Gao said...

An I think insects the size of Guo Guo really need to be on a leash. :)

Ulyana said...

WOW! I have never ever heard of crickets that are pets!!! And he doesn't run away???

No matter how good of a pet that cricket is, it would be a dead pet if it crawled up my pant leg, haha!!! Squash! And I would be twitching for the next week or two, haha.

Melanie Gao said...

Ulyana I think Guo Guo knows he's got it good right where he is. And yes, I would have been twitching for a few weeks too. Yuk.