Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bugging Out

So I’m innocently reading TK’s blog just a little while ago – you can find it here – when I got a bit of a shock. And it wasn’t what I would call a good shock. No, no it was a bad shock. An unsettling shock. An upsetting shock. In fact, I need to say this before I go on: If you’re going to be posting pictures of MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES on your blog, fucking WARN your readers first. Good God I’m freaking out here!

OK (deep breaths), I’m fine. I’m not upset. We’re all good. Moving on – after I got over my initial breakdown (I have serious issues with snakes – can you tell?) over the visuals TK chose to provide, I actually read his post, and it got me thinking.

Note: You may want to read the post before going on – I’m going to refer to it like you have. The gist of it (for the lazy fucks out there): TK and his wife are currently dealing with a wasp infestation. Also, they’ve stumbled upon some seriously creepy/gross animals/insects/reptiles in the past.

Now as my regular readers know, I too have faced a close encounter of the insect (sorry, arachnid) kind recently. And it sucked. But I do want to clarify – generally I don’t have a problem with bugs. Spiders (excepting the monster, mutant, twisted fucker that attacked me) normally make me think of Charlotte. I’m not afraid of them, and I certainly don’t need anyone else to deal with them for me. I simply pick them up and place them outside. It’s a live and let live strategy really.

And that’s basically what I’m trying to say – I like animals (and even most bugs), way more than people. Their minds don’t work like ours, and I honestly believe they’re never trying to hurt us (or at least torture us). Hell, even when a tiger or something attacks (sorry Roy…or was it Seigfried?), they’re doing it because that’s what they DO. They’re not doing it maliciously. But people who mistreat animals – you know what, let’s not even get into that shit here. My point is: I NEVER hurt animals if I can avoid it. But sometimes these creatures try to live with us (like in TK’s case), and that’s when everything gets complicated. You have to do things you may not want to do to get rid of them. Bad things.

Story #1: Shortly after moving into my current apartment, I had my first NY cockroach experience. Now before I go on, let me just say that my apartment is nice. Yes, I realize between this story and my spider experience, you may not believe me, but just trust me on this one. My building and apartment are beautiful. High ceilings, exposed brick walls (that’s a good thing in NY), a nice sized bedroom – just a lot of character. But they’re old. This is your classic pre-war NYC brownstone, and as with any older building, shit happens. So back the fuck off if you’re thinking of saying something in the comments about my place – I love it and will defend it mercilessly.

Anyway, back to the story. So it was a rainy Sunday in the city, and I was just lying around in bed reading. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I sensed some movement on the floor. And, since I knew full well my cat was lying on the pillow next to me, I became concerned. You see, with both my kitty and myself out of the equation, there was (supposedly) nothing left in my apartment capable of scurrying across the floor.

Sitting up in the bed, I looked down. And there it was – the biggest fucking cockroach I’d ever seen in my life. We’re talking something roughly the size of a small mouse here. And it was IN MY HOME. Needless to say, I was not pleased. But I kept my shit together, stealthily climbed out of bed, and grabbed the nearest shoe I could find. Since it was a Sunday, the nearest shoe I could find just happened to be my stiletto from Saturday night. Fuck, this was going to get ugly.

Moving quickly (so it couldn’t…shudder…get away and hide under my bed), I brought the heel down on the bug. Hard. There was…resistance. And the first blow didn’t kill the poor thing. So I brought the heel down again. And again. And again. You get the picture – it was like I was acting out a scene from a horror movie. And it was unquestionably the first time in my life where I felt like I was in fact murdering something. I mean sure, I’ve killed bugs before, but that never really felt quite this ruthless. This took effort. This FREAKED MY SHIT OUT.

So long story short, I started shaking after I was assured the bug was officially deceased and had to call my mother (shut up). Then, when I found my cat playing with ANOTHER cockroach the next day – seriously, she had it on its back and was heartlessly batting it around – I gave in and called my super to bring in an exterminator. I felt bad destroying who knows how many bug lives, but what are you going to do? The point is, I felt bad.

Story #2: This one took place when I was running late for jury duty last summer. Now you guys don’t know me, but I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to be late – for anything. So there I was, running late and completely stressing about it, when I hopped on the subway going downtown. And it being August, it was fucking HOT out and I was sweating. But I had my iced coffee in hand, and I was finally on the fucking train. So all I could do was sit back and try to relax. Which is what I was attempting to do when I gradually became aware of a light tickling at my throat. Reaching up to brush what I thought was a stray hair off my neck, I encountered…yup, a fucking cockroach. ON MY NECK.

Um, yeah I had a bit of a breakdown on the train about then. And since no one had seen the bug before I kind of threw it off of me, I really just seemed like a totally nutty chick loosing it on the train (not all that unusual in NY – people just pretended not to see me). Oh, and then I got to spend the rest of the day in jury duty. It was AWESOME.

The point here? Well, no I didn’t kill that cockroach, but it did invade my space and I would have if I hadn’t been distracted by my relatively significant mental collapse. The moral of this story: Bugs seem to love me, and I can be willing to kill them when given the right circumstances – hell, I probably wouldn’t have even felt bad about killing that one.

Story #3: This one isn’t even my story, but it does help demonstrate that guilt over doing what has to be done runs in my family.

So, back when I was in college my brother got a job working for this guy. Essentially (my brother being fresh out of school himself), his job was to be an indentured servant to this dude for a year. It was understood that at the end of that year, my brother would then have his pick of any job he wanted in his chosen field (and that did in fact end up being the case).

Anyway, part of this indentured servitude involved living on his boss’s property, taking care of his horses (my brother knew nothing about horses), driving this guy to and from work every day, dealing with his HORRIFYING wife, and generally just being at their beck and call. His place of residence during that year? Their guest house (yes, they had a guest house). Sounds OK, right? Um, no. Not so much.

I actually went and stayed with my brother for a weekend back then. Now yes, the guest house was nice in theory – two stories, three bedrooms, blah, blah, blah. But you see, no one took care of the place. It had basically been ignored by its owners for 20 years while a series of (justifiably) unhappy college graduates lived there periodically. In other words, it was gross.

And it had mice. So my brother, being a good, kind soul (when not dealing with me), decided to humanely make the mice go away. Only he knew about as much about mice as he did horses. So when he went out and got those sticky traps (rather than the ones that snap and kill the mouse instantly), he thought he was doing the humane thing. Yeah.

One day he came home from work and heard this squealing. Concerned, he went in search of its source. And he found it – a sticky trap had done its job; it had caught a mouse. Donning rubber gloves, my brother then went to pull the mouse off and set it free. Theoretically that is. You see, those traps are sticky. Like, the mouse is never getting off sticky. And my brother soon realized this. He realized he had bought a trap that TORTURES mice, killing them slowly and horribly rather than quickly. And my brother – having been raised in my family where animals rule all – didn’t know what to do.

Yes, he could have manned up and killed the mouse himself, putting it out of its misery. Only he couldn’t do that any more than I could. So, he did what we can do in my family – he drank. And drank. And drank. Until he couldn’t hear anything. Then, he decided if he could deal with his boss and his wife for a year, he could live with mice for a year. So that’s what he did.

The point of this tale (even though it isn’t about bugs per se): I HATE these stories – so, of course, I’m sharing them with you (just as others have shared theirs). But I’m doing mine with a caveat – please, everyone out there, just get your animal/insect killing stories out there right now and then STOP. (Oh, but feel free to tell reptile cruelty stories whenever you want.) Because they’re upsetting me – and yes, I know I could just not read them, but where’s the fun in that? I mean seriously TK, I felt awful for that scorpion you wrote about – meany. Now can we call a truce?

Damn that was a long post. Alright, go about you business – I’m done.


TK said...

OK, little Miss-Save-The-Bugs, what would you have done if you were wrapped in a towel and found a scorpion in your bedroom? Hmmm?

Also, cockroaches? All bets are off. I've lived in a place with roaches and I've never recovered. If I could blast the entire species into oblivion, I would. I mean, the things carry leprosy for fuck's sake.

But you had to tell TWO roach stories. Now I have to go take a shower and then climb on top of something and cry.

Final snake story: My parents used to live at the base of a mountain in Cape Town. Every summer, when it gets real dry, there are fires on the mountain, and it drives all the snakes down the mountain and into people's yards. Now THAT'S fucking scary.

glassyarddog said...

I tried the sticky traps one time, and also did not know what to do when I caught a mouse. Aha! Throw the mouse and trap outside to let the neighbor's cat have a feast. Oops. Neighbor's cat is now stuck to the trap after eating said feast.


onthevirg said...

I guess this means I'll have to stop telling my exterminator stories.

TK you're in trouble man, you know they're going to rule the earth on day right?

Glassy, that must have been a fun conversation w/ the neighbor.

Redhead said...

tk: That snake story would have been GREAT if they had all been killed in the end - as if was, I'm now going to have nightmares for a month. Thanks!

glassyarddog: Stories where cats or dogs get hurt make me sad, so change the ending to that story and we can be friends.

onthevirg: Do I really have the power to get you to stop telling your exterminator stories? Nice! (Just kidding - I LOVED reading about you getting stung by a swarm of wasps as you tried to murder them; karma my friend, karma.)

Jumpshootingfool said...

Reminds me of a story about a friend of mine who was in the Navy. Went out one night in Korea and got hammered. On the way back they encounter a little Korean man with a push-cart, selling what they thought were chestnuts.
My friend: "Hey, these are really good. What are they?"
Korean guy: "In America--BUGS."
Commence to much gagging and puking..

glassyarddog said...


No change to the end of the story. Sorry. We'll have to be friends another day.

BTW, I LOVE my dog. He rules.

glassyarddog said...

P.S. The cat was fine. And my neighbor always wondered what happened that day.

Redhead said...

jumpshootingfool: What'd they taste like - did he tell you? Is it weird that that was my first thought after reading your story?

glassyarddog: So you love dogs (or at least your dog), and you didn't in fact permanantly injure - at least physically - a cat...hmmmm. OK, you can stay.

TK said...

I think that if I found out that I had accidentally eaten a cockroach, I would vomit up my own stomach and then set it on fire.

The stuck cat thing was actually kind of funny, especially now knowing that the little guy didn't get hurt.

Jumpshootingfool said...

He actually liked them. Brought a bag back to the ship to munch on later. He said they tasted like "crunchy candy. Hard on the outside, gooey inside". I think I forgot to tell you the guy was roasting them, like the vendors you see outside the Garden.

Redhead said...

tk: Aw, 'little guy'? Look who's coming across like a softie now.

jumpshootingfool: Wow, that's all it took for me never to want to eat again. Just...ugh, I don't feel well.

TK said...

Hey, I admit it - I like cats. I have cats (though I wish I had fewer).

It's roaches and wasps that I have no mercy for.

Speaking of which, Operation Fuck Those Wasps UP is officially completed.

Redhead said...

How many cats do you have? Are you living in an animal kingdom? (Not that I'm judging, god knows animals are a million times cooler than humans.)

So the wasps didn't suffer, did they?

TK said...

I have... um... well... four. Yes. Four cats, two dogs, and a guinea pig. This is what happens when you marry a veterinarian. You turn into the fucking Doolittles. Thank God I have a big yard.

And no, I'm sure the wasps didn't suffer. I read them poetry, and fed them wine and honey until they went gently into the night.

Whatever lets you sleep easier.

TK said...

By the way, here's an awesome thing on cats. Trust me. click.

Redhead said...

I can do you one better, check out this site.

Danny from Milwaukee said...

bugs are gross