Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Pox on Palmetto Bugs

They're back. Not that they ever really leave us in this tropical swampland we call South Florida, but during the humid, stormy, infernally hot Miami summers, they are bigger, bolder, and more beastly than ever ... and I loath them. How much do I loath them? I couldn't bring myself to google "palmetto bug" for this blog post out of fear that the horrid roach images would infect my computer with their unsightliness and severely affect my digestion.

Believe it or not, I'm not one of those prissy screams-at-the-sight-of-bugs girls. My home, although clean and tidy, is not impenetrable. It is no stranger to creepy crawlers such as spiders, lizards, and a disturbingly large number of invertebrates I've never seen on the Discovery Channel. I don't mind them. If a spider is crawling nearby, I simply step on it, at which time it does that freaky thing where its newly severed legs refuse to stop quivering. This doesn't phase me. I promptly clean off the spider with some damp toilet paper and move on with my life.

Lizards are free to just hang out. Well, minus those creepy transparent ones that display their little internal organs. Those are weird. I once spotted a little lizard (the normal green kind) in the shower with me, head tilted up towards the shower head. My spontaneous reaction was laughter, for I was involuntarily picturing the reptile in a pair of little lizard sunglasses; in my mind's eye, he was catching some rays. *Side note: The beach lizard story is meant to highlight my lunacy vivid imagination.

So what do these fascinating anecdotes tell us? They tell us that my contempt for the cockroach has nothing to do with some sort of anti-crawly things agenda. Rather, my contempt for the cockroach is founded on one fact alone -- they are the evil spawn of Satan. There, I said it.

This brings me to the traumatic event that took place last week, which I will relate in the present tense so as to heighten the suspense.

It's 5:00 a.m., and I'm forcing myself out of bed. It's my first day of boot camp. As I squeeze into my leggings, it occurs to me that I should allow my dog out on the patio terrace briefly so as to prevent a doggy surprise upon my return. Once in the family room, I spot a large, dead roach in the kitchen. "Second one this week!" Thinking about having to throw it out is making me slightly nauseous. I decide to ignore it for the moment and proceed to open the sliding glass door for Doggy. Out trots Doggy, not a care in the world. I, on the other hand, am on edge. A sixth sense tells me something is looming. A slight tilt of my head to the left ... heart stops. There, on the edge of the sliding door I've just opened, less than two inches from my head, about the size of my palm, lies the enemy of all that is holy. It has wings. Do you hear me? IT. HAS. WINGS!

In moments of terror such as these, I do not scream. I do nothing that may potentially disturb the foe, for then it will move, and I will faint. Instead, I step cautiously backwards until I can reach my handy bug spray. "I ♥ you, bug spray." I stand as far away as I possibly can from the roach while still at spraying distance. I psychologically prepare myself, squint my eyes, and spray with all my might!

Then it happens. It moves. It scurries around maniacally as I follow it everywhere with my poison. This is key. I mustn't lose focus now. My ultra hyper miniature pincher is uncharacteristically calm, hanging out in the kitchen and looking at me like I'm crazy (which I am). And just like that, as if by a twisted, black magic (because roaches are basically Voldemort), it's gone. It has disappeared, and who's to say where it's hiding now?

I hold steady as my eyes bounce around the room. I am all alertness. A minute elapses, maybe two. Then I hear it. Its wings flutter. The sound makes me shiver. It's standing upside down beneath the upper frame of the sliding door, slightly weakened. The angle now forces me to spray at a closer distance. This gives me pause, but I recognize that I cannot give up now, so again I spray. This time, it dashes along the entire length of the glass door, ending up beneath the couch. Is this thing bionic? No matter. New angle; more spray. My house reeks of poison, and I don't care.

At last, it is done. I have won the brutal battle, and I want to cry from the emotional strain. Instead, I place Doggy in the non-toxic bedroom and head off to boot camp, which doesn't sound so scary anymore.


  1. Best line of this post: "roaches are basically Voldemort." I think I am traumatized after just reading this post. Isn't the flight/fight sense amazing? You want to run away from this evil alien bug from hell, yet you can't. You must fight the good fight. Thank God for Raid!

  2. In Harry Potter as in life, good prevails.

  3. I felt every bit of terror in this post. I too am not a girly-girl when it comes to bugs, with the exception of roaches. I don't even like picking them up once killed. Just the other night I came across a flying one as well, crawling on my ceiling. In the process of killing it, it disappeared only to reappear the following evening where death by poison occurred. Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well the night it escaped. If there is one thing I hate about summer time in Miami, it is its infestation of roaches.

  4. Best line: "I do nothing that may potentially disturb the foe, for then it will move, and I will faint." Ha ha ha ha ha!

    At least you don't wear specs, so they don't fly at your face...ugh!

  5. Your face?! Oh, crap. Now that's scary.