Bugging Out with Poison
When I was a kid I was my biggest fear was poison. All poison. Household poisons. Glue. Photography liquids. Chemistry sets. Ajax. I was always scared of all that stuff. I never totally outgrew my fear but it's manageable now. I can use Ajax and stuff. Now that I'm a grownup my biggest fear is bugs. I don't really mind moths or flies or ladybugs or whatever. Just roaches really. I even hate the word. Uch. Maybe if they had a better name like 'SmileBugs' they'd get a better rap.
Fortunately in New York I've never lived in an apartment with any sort of bug problem. (Thank the lord). I'm pretty clean with stuff. I vacuum alot. I spritz wipe down countertops and all that. But I'm pretty sure me being clean isn't so much a natural need-- but more of a 'fear of bugs' driven motivation. I also do preemptive strikes with roach traps. Even if I don't see any bugs at all I'll still buy new traps every few months just out of paranoia. Knock wood the whole time I've been in this apartment I've maybe seen a half dozen ...uch... roaches in here---. But never the little ones. Only the big monster oversized ones. And when I see one I freeze up.
The other night. I frozed.
In the kitchen above my stove I have some open shelving with cans of peas and tuna and like crackers and oil and vinegar and spices all that stuff. I walked in and turned on the light right smack dab in the middle of all that stuff was one of those monster bugs. We stared at each other. He had giant antennas. He was poking around. I thought I was gonna yack.
I went over my options:
1. Snatch him up with my hands-- and cup him in a hand trap and huck him out the window.
(AKA the logical solution. AKA2 not happening. Even the idea of it gives me the chills. He could crawl up my sleeve and disappear into my clothes in which case I would have to run naked screaming into the street.)
2. Slowly take one of the cans and SPLAT smush him good.
(AKA also not happening. I don't think I could handle the smush sound nor stomach seeing inner bug goop.)
3. Take a cup or bowl and trap him. Then slide something underneath and pick up the whole sealed in makeshift trap and throw the whole thing out the window.
(I've done this before and I actually like this technique. But in the kitchen shelving situation there was simply no room to catch him cleanly and I didn't want to miss and have him free to roam to seek revenge because I'd fake feel him on crawling on my neck for weeks.)
4. Get the spray.
(It was the only option.)
I do have a can of Raid around and I felt like this was the only way. I slowly backed out of the kitchen and went into the other room to get the spray and returned. Thankfully he hadn't moved. I took a deep breath and got in sort of close and gave him the spritz. SsssTTTT! On first contact he went scampering off across the shelving! No insta-die! So I continued spraying! Right across all my kitchen stuff! I was in a panic! (He was too!) He climbed along the wall and fell down by my dish rack which was stacked with dishes and forks. I continued spraying right across all my dishes and forks! I was blind with fear! He wouldn't die! He just kept going! When are they gonna get a bug spray that is a death ray spray!? None of this slow kill stuff! (I don't like seeing so much bug suffering. I might hate him and want him dead but it just feels like slow torture murder). I thought the more I'd spray the quicker he'd die!
He finally scrambled across my counter and tumbled into my sink which also had a few dishes and cups in there. I gave him a full straight blast until finally he stopped. All in all, I probably had been spraying for a minute or so. I looked around and realized I was in a cloud of toxic spray and I opened the window and coughed my way out of the room. I felt lightheaded. My old fear or poison kicked in and I felt like my skin was burning so I staggered into the shower and blasted myself clean like Silkwood.
When I returned to the murder scene I looked at all my kitchen stuff. It was all practically glowing with fresh poison. I used a wad of paper towels to take the victim out of the sink (EW!) then I took everything potentially sprayed dishes, bottles, cans, plates, forks, spoons and I piled everything in the sink. And anything that had any sort of potential food contamination was immediately thrown out. The crackers and sugar and what not. And I spent the next hour or so cleaning off all my forks and dishes and cans. Scrubbing them with brillo followed up by a sponge. I scrubbed and scrubbed to get all the poison off. But those particular forks and plates and cans will always be contaminated as far as I'm concerned. I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat that tuna because I think the poison can get in there somehow.
Sure maybe I could have handled the situation better. It was just one bug. It didn't have to turn into a two hour project which included spraying toxic stuff all over the place and myself. I know a simple bug is so harmless I could pick it up and eat it and be fine. But I know I'll never find common ground with bugs. We'll never see eye to eye (or eyes or whatever). They're too creepy.
I just wish the alternative to common ground didn't tap into another one of my other deep dark fears...