Friday, June 23, 2006

I Should Have Been A Pair Of Ragged Claws Scuttling Across the Floors….*

Two weeks ago I lost a contact in the shower. Since they’re disposable, no big whoop, but I’ve been too lazy to put new contacts in and have been wearing my glasses. Everyone’s been telling me that I look “cute” in them, which only reinforced my laziness in terms of digging up a replacement pair of contacts.

However, the downside of wearing glasses logically means there are times when I can’t see. One example: when I’m in the shower. This morning when I stepped out of the shower, I saw a blurred, flurry of movement along the bottom of the sink cabinet.

At first I thought that it was merely water in my eye, or a figment of my imagination. But the vigorous movement reappeared, and I mentally recognized it as the scurry of insect legs even though I could not make out the particular insect as I was blind and dripping.

It did of course prove to be a roach. I find nothing so terrifying as the scuttle of a cockroach. It is their ability to crawl into any and everything that I find so insidious.

Cockroaches + vulnerable shower time = me in an especially bad mood.

A few days ago, Housemate was making fun of my fear until he heard me explaining to KN how one morning as I was getting ready for work (I think this was the summer after my freshman year of college) I got up and went into the bathroom and a medium sized roach hopped out my hair into the sink. That pretty much did me in, and even Housemate had to recognize the trauma of the episode.


There seems to be a theme in my family of having to confront what one fears. My mother is terrified of snakes. One morning when she came downstairs while the rest of the house was asleep she found a snake curled up in front of the dishwasher. My mom let out a blood curdling yell and ran off and by the time my father was on the scene, the snake had slunk off to wherever it had been hiding. This episode necessitated two things: 1) my mother wore my tall riding boots around the house for about two weeks and 2) a “snake guy” had to be brought out to the house. Snake guy’s purpose was, obviously, to find the snake. He checked out our TV speakers as he said the snakes like to hang out in there for the vibrations (snakes don’t have ears remember), ditto with the dishwasher. But snake guy failed and Mom was not happy. A few months later when she was cleaning out my sister’s art studio she came across a snakeskin shed on top of a stack of paintings. Needless to say, she was completely freaked out. Sis thought it was cool.

I was equally freaked out this morning as was I standing in the shower, the creature between myself and the door. It is worse when you can’t really see, you can only make out that a skittering blob is coming closer.

I grabbed my robe, wrapped it hastily around me and lept over the blob, snagged my glasses off the counter and headed for the bedroom where I keep the insect spray. I can’t bear to squish the creatures, no, that’s too horrifying. I can only chemically annihilate them. If they made household napalm, I would be the sort of person to use it.

So the creature is dead, and there are now 2 roach carcasses in our house which I have to dispose of, but have not yet worked up the courage to deal with them. Why can these creatures not plague Housemate? I may insist that we switch showers and we’ll see how he likes it. Needless to say, from now on, glasses no, contacts yes.

To be more brave, I keep trying to envision each cockroach as Gregor Samsa (from The Metamorphosis), who I always felt so sorry for. “Poor Gregor,” I’ll say now when I kill them, “your family didn’t love you and neither do I.”


*From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Elliot

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