I am terrified of cockroaches. Terrified. I have broken leases and moved because of the dreaded things. Of course, that was a thousand years and 25 lifetimes ago when I was a very young single girl fresh out of college. Now, I am an older single girl, but they still make me want to be sick.
Spiders? Bring ’em on. Snakes? Cool. Crickets? Please, they are good luck.
But the ‘C’ word?. No, no, no. NO!
Down here, cockroaches have this other name: Palmetto Bug. As if that name makes them cleaner, more tolerable, less disgusting. In reality it means this: a cockroach as big as a good-sized mouse. And I am not kidding about this.
For six perfect months, I have enjoyed my perfect apartment for several reasons–I am the first to live in it because it is new, and bugs don’t have a history here.
It all changed on a dime last night. As I talked to RG daughter on the phone, I saw it out of the corner of my eye: a 4-foot-long shadow on my ceiling, which proved to be a 3-inch long Palmetto Bug. Now, just two days ago, I thought to myself, Maybe I should buy a can of Raid in case a…you know…suddenly appears in my place. Not that one would, because none ever have. But you know, just in case.
God, I hate it when my inner voice is so dead on.
I emptied half the can on the critter before it dropped from the ceiling and spun around and flattened itself on my nice clean white tile floor. Which is when I took my red broom to the thing and stunned it into stillness. Then I swept it out the door, where it went belly up, stringy feet in the air. At which point I mentally called movers, packed my crap, and fled as far away as I could. Where to, I had no idea. Anywhere seemed good.
On this night when Mr. Restaurant Gal called just to chat; when I was thinking about him, too; when my best dog got to know how it felt to have tears cried on her head after I talked to Mr. Restaurant Gal; when my apartment seemed to have shadows lurking everywhere; when I wondered what it meant to think about all of this even as I remembered several recent fun nights out with those I am only just getting to know; when I wanted to scream at how overwhelmed I feel ‘in season’ at work; when I had no time to vote and it might have counted…I gave into the sadness and embraced the uncertainty.
It’s just work. It will be the rest of my life. It was just a Palmetto bug.