Help Wanted: Bug Patrol

OK. So, I don’t pretend to hide the fact that I do not like bugs. I like nature. I like being outside. But I was never the type of girl who picked up worms or grasshoppers to inspect them in my hand. They are works of nature–I get it–living things, but I have never had a good relationship with them. Perhaps it stems back to the time when I was in kindergarten and I stomped out an entire ant hill in my backyard and they started to crawl up my legs. Beady, fat, black ants taking their revenge on a six year old. But they had it coming–they killed the baby evergreen tree I planted for arbor day.

Ever since that day, the bugs have had it out for me. Mosquitoes and gnats just love to bite me and I’ve had a few (too) close encounters with spiders. YICK. Ughhh don’t get me started about spiders. And silver fish. And those rolly polly bugs ew ew ew. I am cringing as I type this.

Being grossed out by bugs also does not fare well when you live in an old building. I have been lucky so far (knock on wood) because there is usually someone around who will kill a bug for me. When I was little, all I had to scream was DADDY!!! In college, I remember my good friend/roommate made her boyfriend at the time come all the way from off campus to kill a little spider that was handing from the flourescent light in our dorm room. (My bf at the time told me to get over it. Note to self–always date a guy who can be your spider patrol.) We screamed as he caught it.

In my rowhouse when I lived off campus, if there was seriously anything really big or gross, we called the boys over from next door.

But now–I live with two other girls, and I have not yet discussed bug patrol with them. I have no idea if they are squeamish like me becasue up until now, thankfully, I have not had any issues with bugs, until last week.

Upon returning home from a gallery opening post-work, I head to the kitchen for some water before going to bed, and a little friend is waiting for me. I freeze. I spy a huge, blackish-brown, beetle-like thing slowly walking across the blue tile. I jump away. What to do?? The roommate was asleep, and the vaccum was behind my nemesis. I decide to slowly walk backwards out of the kitchen, turn off the light, and forget I ever saw it. I had to rock myself to sleep.

In the morning, I told my mom about it. I saw the grossest cricket last night! I screech into the phone. And then my mother said something so eye opening and revolting that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

“Em, aww, you are such a suburb girl. I love that you assume that a bug like that is a cricket.”

What! It had to be…I mean, I guess it didn’t make a noise….and it’s not August….and….and….

Oh good god! Was it a COCKROACH!! I HAVE COCKROACHES IN MY APT!

I started to hyperventilate. My skin got clammy. I got goosebumps. No—no it couldn’t be! I once had a run in with a water bug, maybe it was a water bug??

“No, water bugs are brown,” my mom informs me. I had never felt so far away from home.

Since that eye-opener to my sheltered suburb upbringing, I have seen my friend that “thing” two more times. The second time, I reacted with the same, back-up-slowly-and-return-to-your-room approach. But last night when I saw him, after a few beers, feeling bold–I took action. I placed a white ceramic bowl on top of my nemesis. Whatever he is, he is now in captivity.

I knocked on my roommate’s door this morning and told her not to look under the bowl flipped upside down by the microwave. At first she kind of gave me a quizzical look, then I explained about the bug. I think she understood. Or she just thinks I’m an idiot. Only time will tell if the bowl is still there when I get home.

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