Monday, January 19, 2009

Creepy Crawling things...

My home is being invaded by an army of giant ants. Every time I see one out of the corner of my eye, I think it is some other insect - like a cockroach - and I shriek. My youngest son thinks all insects are cockroaches and freaks out at the sight of them. He wet his pants the other day because, as usual, he waited for the last minute, when he could barely hold himself, to go to the bathroom, only to discover that the ant army had taken up residence there. He was too afraid to go in and didn't make it to the other bathroom off the sitting room in time. I think they are taking refuge in the house from the cold wet weather outside.

When we first moved in, there were cockroaches everywhere, we called the exterminator three times to make sure they were annihilated. He even went around the outside of the house, lifting up the heavy metal lids of the drainage holes in the yard, they were swarming with big black cockroaches - the kind that make a juicy squishing noise when you stomp them - he sprayed something in there as well and they came running out in swarms - it looked like a scene from a horror movie - and started running up the outside walls of the house and dropping off as the poison took effect. The ground was littered with cockroaches on their backs with their legs waving around. (Why do they always flip on to their backs when they are dying?)

I remember in the lab portion of one of my Biology classes in University, we were studying something about digestive tracts and our assignment on fine evening was to gas (and supposedly temporarily knock out) a VERY large cockroach and, while it was asleep, (but not dead), yank it by its "head" and pull out the head with its entire digestive tract attached and intact. Well, first of all I had a sorority girl for my lab partner, and second, the gas didn't work as well as it was supposed to on our assigned victim, so its legs were waving around, and its mouth part was moving (it was big enough to see that part!), and every time we tried to get near its head to touch it, its legs grabbed at our fingers. We made a mess of the whole thing and didn't manage to get the whole digestive tract out in one piece. At that moment, I really envied the girls who had weird science geeks as lab partners.

The creepy thing about cockroaches is that the bigger they get, the smarter and more hostile they seem to get as well. It's like they know when you are afraid of them, and they know when you are watching them, and they know that you are thinking of getting a shoe or some bug spray. Have you ever noticed how a cockroach can be making its merry way across a counter top or wall across the room from you, and the moment it catches your eye, even if you don't move a muscle, it freezes and it waits.... Somehow it knows that you aren't carrying something on you that you can nuke it with and that you must at some point take your eye off of it so you can look for the spray or shoe or other weapon. So it waits, and waits, until you take your eye off of it , even for only one second, and then it makes a break for it. If it is large enough to know it is scary, and if it does not have the option of finding a quick hiding place - it might actually decide to come at you and scare the shit out of you, so that you run shrieking from the room, giving it a chance to escape.

Once, when I first moved to Zanzibar, I encountered such a beast. I was on my balcony hanging out some wash (that was before our neighbors started stealing our clothes off the line) and when I turned to go back into the sitting room, there he was - all three inches of him - dashing along the wide expanse of white wall from the bathroom towards the kitchen. As soon as I spotted him, he stopped and looked at me, he assessed his situation, he knew that both the bathroom and the kitchen were too far for him to reach fast enough. He knew it was him or me, and he saw me there, white faced, mouth open in horror (he was the first giant cockroach I had seen) and he made his decision. He turned and started running straight at me. All hell broke loose; I screamed and dodged his attack, which I think he had counted on, and he dashed towards the balcony door. He almost made it, but he hadn't counted on one thing, the broom propped against the wall. I grabbed it and whacked him. It took a couple of blows, but I got him.

Now, every time I see a cockroach, I know he is looking at me too, and I know that he knows that he is the enemy.


Empress Anisa said...

Wow... well, I know they would be able to "smell" my fear as well. They would toture me with sernades from the corners that they're coming out... and where's the food?
I would HAVE to let them have the place- even the tiny New York ones scare the hell outta me- here's a joke: one time when me and the hubby moved into this fabulous little apt.. so nice and clean but after about 4 days, I saw one roach, nearly passed out and then saw another- complained to the hubby and he laughed at me! He said, "A big girl like you scared of a little roach???" He thought my fear was joke... needless to say he didnt think it was anymore when I demanded we move.... lol! About 1 month later, I was in a new apt- so when looking for an apt I come to ask the owners, "roach and rodent free?"

desertmonsoon said...

yeah, the ones we have in the US are the German cockroaches - small and brown - I never saw one in my parents' home, but my brother's bachelor pad - ie scummy smelly depressing basement dungeon - that he had during his last two years at university was crawling with them. they have that kind here and then they have the fat black ones too ... i am just glad I haven't encountered a flying one, (My Palestinian friend who used to live in Cyprus told me that they had flying ones there). Encountering one of them would probaly send me into cardiac arrest.

Unless you get a brand new house (not apartment) here, there is no way to get one that is roach free. Apartment buildings will always get them eventually, someone moves in and brings them with them and once they get into the pipes and what not they are there to stay... but there is the gel - odorless that they put little dots of it in strategic places around the place - it keeps them away for at least 6 months - in my flat in Dubai it worked for about a year - then you call the guy and do it all over again... not bad.