Me Against The Roach*

14 Aug

It was not what I had planned. This is how I anticipated my Sunday night shaking out: first, I would write something (and possibly, it would be brilliant), and then I would snuggle down under my covers with either my current self-help book or fiction selection, and read cozily and peacefully by the light of my new (super-cute!) bedside lamp until I drifted into a peaceful sleep. The following is an account of what actually happened:

I was feeling very satisfied like ahhhhhh, and a bit sleepy, as I snapped my computer shut. Trying to decide which book I should momentarily snuggle down with, my eyes fell upon my kitchen table, where the most ginormous roach ever (really, without an actual photo to do it justice – it was approximately the length from thumb to forefinger when almost fully extended, and that doesn’t even count antennae-span), a tangible (malevolent) presence I could feel in my apartment, doing this: strutting between my water glass (I was just drinking out of that water glass!) and my Brita (um, ew); then strolling around on my pretty placemats as if it hadn’t a care in the world; and then it cruised over to my tax forms, and rested on top of a thank you note from a friend. Now. There are very few (i.e. no) places that a roach would be welcome in one’s home, but there are more and less acceptable places to discover one, and let me tell you that seeing a giant one on my kitchen table next to my Brita left me feeling particularly vulnerable.

Ok. I freaked. I started shaking. I had difficulty breathing. Then, I grabbed an old copy of Oprah magazine and tried to ease it onto the floor where it would meet its end. However. Roaches aren’t slow. And this one didn’t like, or appreciate or whatever, Oprah Magazine being forced upon him/her. So he/she ran, like roaches are known to do. And then I saw a roach-maneuver I can honestly say I would be happier not knowing existed. It made this sounds like slurp! as it flattened itself out to paper-thin status and slid into the tiniest crack between the wall and the floor. I had a moment of “Maybe it went into the one-bedroom next door?” but I knew I would not be able to sleep unless I had a confirmed insect body count. So I stalked it. And I stared at the crack. And I stared.

Around this time my Dad called to make plans, but who can concentrate under circumstances like these? I was beyond-jumpy, seeing the roach in each shadow, and every clothing tag, and my frequent screams proved to be somewhat of a barrier to organized, coherent conversation. He kept saying, “Spray the crack! Spray the crack!” only, I don’t own anything to spray it with. I had to get off the phone and focus.

15 minutes later, an antenna started to wiggle out from the almost-invisible crack and probe around. 4 more minutes later and the sucker was out in plain view again. I lunged at him once more and he bolted behind my cds, and I had visions of him squiggling up with Mary J. or Chaka Khan, because my Soul Favorites mix was a) close to ground-level, and b) not very well protected in a paper envelope-looking case. And also at this point I started to worry that my neighbors were going to think I had developed some kind of rare, spontaneous Turrets because every time I missed it I shouted (although this implies intention, and the act felt out-of-my-control), “MOTHERFUCKER!!!” which is not even a curse-word I ever employ in my daily, non-roach-killing life; it is not even one of my top five favorites.

Anyway, my friend called me from a bar and I was about to give up, hit the bar (even though I don’t really drink, this MOTHERFUCKER was driving me to drink), and then pick up some Raid and roach traps on the way back and hope for the best. I sort-of-not-optimistically thought I’d do one final check before leaving, and as I looked in the corner, I saw it squatting on the furthest edge of my brown meditation cushion (another place that one would not hope to see a roach), camouflaged within the meant-to-be-soothing stripy pattern. This was it, this was my moment: Me Against The Roach.

I ran to the one-bedroom next door (where the roach had not gone) and knocked frantically on the door. No answer so down two doors. He answered, and he was being friendly but I was shaking and convulsing about Raid, so we skipped the small talk and he came back to the door with a bottle, and as I was running back into my apartment for the final showdown, the one-bedroom opened her door and then the second guy came running down the hall behind me with super-sized roach motels instructing me to “Put them in key locations!” and “Get them at their source!” and the one-bedroom was shouting: “Get it!” and I felt that my mission had taken on epic proportions and I was killing this roach to protect all the inhabitants of my entire building.

Basically, I sprayed the shit out of it and doused my meditation cushion, which became a blameless casualty and promptly went in the trash because who can relax thinking about the roach and all that Raid that had been there before? Then I left the roach to sit in a pool of Raid and covered it with a plastic takeout container to hold it there so it could think about what it had done.

There were a few things I took away from this 45-minute incident (after which, by the way, I did get that drink):
1) Um, did anyone know roaches were that smart (see: flattening maneuver, camouflaging itself)?
2) My neighbors really went above and beyond the call of duty, standing behind me with roach-killing chemicals and moral support in my time of need
3) Yesterday, for the first time, I changed a light bulb in my really complicated light fixture by myself, and then later, in a showdown between me and the roach, I am the one left standing to tell the tale. Motherfucker. I guess this is what growing up is all about…

*As inspired by Britney Spears’ “Me Against The Music” (feat. Madonna); sort of a bug remix, with a beat you can dance to…

To read the story of Me & The Bat (I was not so victorious in that encounter) check out

2 Responses to “Me Against The Roach*”

  1. nicole August 16, 2006 at 11:01 pm #

    We’ve talked about this haven’t we? That roaches will eventually take over the city? It sounds like this one had already been genetically engineered to do battle. Ridiculous. Motherfuckers indeed. All of them. You’re very brave.

  2. Scott November 17, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    Loved this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: