Sometimes, we are simply careless.
Or complacent. Or careless because we are complacent.
A number of us expatriate bloggers get very exorcised about the north of the border news outlets.
You know the stories. The type that send our friends and neighbors running to their telephones and computers to make certain we have not been kidnapped or beheaded or forced to listen to marathon mariachi sessions.
And, of course, we are always quite well. Just as if we still lived in Topeka or Medicine Hat. No drug lords or Marie Antoinettes having crossed our paths during the day.
That is not to say that Mexico presents no dangers to its residents. Driving comes to mind -- much to my continued enjoyment.
But there are other reminders that as pleasant as Mexico is, it is no Eden, let alone Paradise.
Topping the list for most of us would be the dreaded alacrán -- the scorpion. We have a nasty little beige variety here that can make the hearts of the susceptible -- well -- stop. To put it bluntly.
I have seen only one scorpion in Mexico. The day I moved into this apartment. (the wages of hubris)
Full disclosure requires that I now double that count.
On Tuesday evening, I was resting my ankle on the couch while I read Donald Miller's Searching for God Knows What. (A book I highly recommend. His style is very reminiscent of Ann Lamott.)
I had been monitoring my computer's attempt to back up my files -- a process that seems to be working. The screen saver blinked the screen blank, and I was rushing to get over to the computer.
I grabbed my crutches and was about to put my healthy left foot on the floor. When I saw it.
The movement and shape was distinctive. Like some armored death machine designed for one purpose -- to kill before being killed. The silhouette of many an adventure film. Pure visceral terror.
And hovering barely above it: my bare foot.
Instinct told me to smash it right then. Common sense told me that using my healthy foot to challenge the venomous was about as wise as taking a Geneva Convention form to the Taliban.
My crutches proved to be a far more effective tool to dispatch the scorpion life force to whatever netherworlds they occupy.
Thus the photograph that looks as if it was snapped by a CIA satellite. I really need to work on my close-up death scenes.
I live a life of complacency. Bad things seldom happen to me. Or, at least, bad things that matter. As a result, I do not take many precautions in life.
I don't wear shoes in the house. I don't turn on lights for my nightly journeys to the bathroom. I often wander in my garden in my bare feet.
The question is whether I have led a charmed life or do the little stings of life simply not matter to me?
Or am I simply turning this into another Zen moment because I am starting to feel reluctant to leave Mexico?
What I do know is, for the next few days, I am looking before I leap.