Friday, June 5, 2009

Me vs. the Cockroach

So I was in the shower, minding my own business, sudsing up my hair and doing all of those shower-y things people do. In spite of the open windows and the fan, the bathroom was getting sauna-style steamy, probably due to the fact that it’s approximately the size of a glorified walk-in closet. Wondering if maybe I could shove the window open a little farther, I glanced upwards toward the small sill where all of my shower products are situated. And that’s when I saw it: a half-moon of brown, greasy-looking shell and one long antennae peeking out from behind my fat black Tresemme shampoo bottle. The creature was motionless, and it took me a full thirty seconds to realize that the soup-spoon sized thing was on the inside of the window screen. That was when recognition fully set in, because although I’ve never actually seen one before, I know a cockroach when I see one.

Typically, I’m not a shrieker. I don’t ordinarily scream on rollercoasters, unless prompted to do so by my riding partner. I don’t squeal at gross scenes in scary movies, and when a spider is climbing up my bedroom wall, I might feel a bit squeamish inside, but I usually just snatch a tissue and do the evil deed before I can think too much about it. This cockroach, however, was as big as my two thumbs put together. There was no way I was about to squash the thing without getting guts all over the shower, never mind my vulnerable, naked body. And what’s more, it was above me on this window ledge, poised in the position of power to launch its ugly, nasty body right onto me. Just the thought of it scuttling to the edge and taking a flying leap into the spray…. So I did the girly thing. I started shrieking.

“What is wrong! What is it?” My roommates were outside the bathroom door. I turned off the water and tried to climb over the lip of the tub without splitting my head open, all the while trying to keep an eye on the brown thing that was moving slowing down the screen and into the crevice between the windowpane and the screen. By the time I had my towel around me and the door open, the only evidence of the bug were two skinny antennae sticking up from the crevice—and only I could see them, since I am at least a foot taller than my two Asian roommates. “There’s a cockroach in there,” I told them. “It was on the screen, but now you can’t see it.” They stood there helplessly as I dripped all over the floor, and I realized that if I didn’t do something, I would be stuck with shampoo in my hair for the rest of the night and with a cockroach indefinitely residing in our bathroom, ready to rear its ugly head at any moment.

“Okay, we need a cup of some sort,” I instructed L___, the roommate more likely to take action. “A cup,” she repeated, “Okay.” “And a bag!” I called after her as she disappeared from the doorway. Meanwhile, I trailed water into my room as I retrieved my bathrobe in order to make myself slightly less likely to flash my onlooking roommates as I attempted to capture this intruding bug. L___ returned with the cup, and I, clad now in my yellow bathrobe, balanced on the edge of the tub to try and see onto the windowsill better. To no avail. I’d have to go at this blindly. Using the only prodding device available to me—my Venus Gillette razor—I tentatively poked it toward the crevice between the windowpane and the screen, trying to encourage the roach to trot out and investigate the activity. It wasn’t cooperating, though, so I had to poke a little harder, and suddenly the thing flew came flying out. Literally. I had no idea cockroaches could fly!

I nearly fell off the lip of the tub, shrieking all the while and joined in chorus this time by both of my roommates, who were witness to the entire spectacle. When I regained my footing on the floor, the roach had landed inside the bathtub. “Quick!” I said to L___, “the cup!” We swooped down upon the roach and covered it with the cap of a laundry detergent bottle. “Now what?” She looked at me. “Now we have to get it into the bag.” She raised her eyebrows and handed me the plastic shopping bag she had procured from the kitchen. “I don’t know how to do this.” Great I thought to myself. As if I am a professional cockroach-catcher. “Okay,” I said, more to myself than to her. On three I would scoop it up. One, two…. I smashed the bag around the cup and quickly lifted it. Had the thing escaped? I looked around wildly, expecting flapping brown wings and excrement to be spurting everywhere. Nothing.

“Here,” I tied the bag several times and handed it back to L___. “Take this to the trash. Please.” I tried to look as pitiful and as wet as I could, which wasn’t hard considering I hadn’t’ dried off one bit since shutting off the shower. She took the bag with two fingers and retreated with my other roommate. Tentatively, I shut the bathroom door and turned the shower back on. I didn’t take my eyes off of the windowsill until I left the bathroom.


Joel said...

It was OK to laugh at that story...right?

agoldste said...

Yes...after the fact.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written! I feel like I was right there with you.

Anonymous said...

This would make a GREAT one-act play.