i depart this coming thursday for seattle, my “homeland.” or at least, the land (post my first few years of life in germany) where i was raised since i was just a wee thing. a wee thing who proudly paraded around in spandex shorts like they going out of style (and trust me, they were so in style back then). i also remember this amazing pair of yellow boot slippers that i wore until they could no longer be worn (due to a serious amount of holes). they were a pale canary yellow and laced up to my ankles. they had no rubber souls (therefore they weren’t shoes) and since they reached my ankle i considered them boots. to this day, they are still my favorite pair of foot attire (blippoots :: boot-slippers, that is) i have ever owned. a close runner up being the black pair of (rather hideous in hind-sight) sneakers (this was during my ‘i like black everything’ phase) with black laces threaded with silver.
this memory of shoes brings back another memory about a certain blanket i once owned. i’m not sure if it had a name, such as ‘blankey’ (as so many blankets do), but it was special. and come to think of it, it was more of a comforter. not a full on puffy down thing, but a well padded blanket-comforter hybrid. i remember that is was blue and covered in clouds and sunshine. i wouldn’t be surprised if rainbows were involved as well. said blanket was my staple item when i was a child. it would wrap around me while i slept at night and i was never seen without it in the living room either as a wrap around or a spread on the floor, like a picnic blanket, while i played with my toys, which were probably My Little Ponies. i was particularly (and painfully) fond of this blanket. i remember feeling somewhat betrayed when it was forced to hit the washer and dryer. leaving me without my safety net. the demise of this blanket was quite traumatizing. it happened the day that my sister threw up on it.
i’m not entirely sure how accurate my memory is, but what i do remember is that my mom tried to hide the fact that my beloved quilt was no longer. perhaps she told me that it was in the wash. or it was lost. i have no idea. but i do remember that when i had learned its true fate. i was quite angry at my sister (even though she had been involuntarily sick) and i also remember crying over the fact that my favorite possession was now stuffed in a trash can saturated with vomit. it’s amazing how significant a piece of fabric and some stuffing can be.
i now have another memory that just popped into my head. as a child, i would collect caterpillars. i’d scoop them up into my hands and place them into small tupperware containers. i wouldn’t place a lid on them because i knew that would only smother them and prevent oxygen from reaching them, so i would cover the tops with saran wrap and, using a fork, poke air holes. i remember having quite the collection of caterpillars in my bedroom. i would stuff leaves in their containers and sprinkle them with water. i’ve never had a green thumb, but i treated those caterpillars like orchids. i watched them like a hawk. i cared for them so deeply and only wanted them to flourish.
however, in caterpillar terms, flourishing means turning into a butterfly. and when you have a mother who is a little freaked out by her youngest daughter stock piling caterpillars in her room on her window sill, there are consequences. i recall coming home from school one day to discover my large collection of window sill captive caterpillars had disappeared. it was beyond upsetting. i’d spent (what felt like) months, nourishing these
pour trapped insects (thinking i was doing them a favor by “protecting” them from the severity of nature). i approached my mom about their sudden disappearance and she informed me, with a completely straight face, that they had all miraculously turned into butterflies and flown away. when she told me this i did keep crying, but i was pleased. i was happy. i felt responsible for their successful evolution.
i never collected another caterpillar after that. i believed her story at the time (even though, years later, she did come clean about her setting them free in the garden while i was at school). i’m not sure what stopped me from collecting them again. perhaps i felt a sense of guilt ? perhaps they’d have become butterflies far sooner had i not intervened ? and the weirdest thing is that to this day, if and when i see a caterpillar (which is not too often), i am quite squeamish. coming from the girl who used to display them with pride on her windowsill and admire their every awkward wiggle, it’s a little contradictory.
i remember claiming when i was a kid that i loved spiders. but that was never true. this was also during my “i like black phase.” spiders have and will always make me want to scream like a freshly castrated male, run, undress, and search my naked body for any signs of them. but spiders have nothing on cockroaches. i would gladly sleep with a bed full of spiders than encounter another cockroach.
when i lived in new york city, i had to deal with them once in a while (and once in a while turned into all of the while when i was a victim of a roach infestation – true story). i think the most frightening fact about them is that of all the creatures on this planet they are, apparently, the only ones that would be able to survive a nuclear attack. this also makes me quite weary of raid because if roaches can survive a nuclear attack, then what exactly is in raid that can kill them so easily ? this never stopped me from using the stuff. i treated that red can like a fire extinguisher during a house fire. seeing a brown, semi glossy, oval thing in my apartment – be it on the floor, wall, or ceiling – feels like nothing short of the apocalypse.
possibly the most infuriating part about cockroaches is their attitude. they have such despicable confidence in themselves. you can be staring at one, gripping a can full of raid, and they will merely twitch their disgusting little antennae at you. they have no fear whatsoever. perhaps they are aware of the fact that a nuclear attack could not kill them, but little do they know that that can of raid in my hand could end their life.
i’ve had cockroaches crawl (by the dozen) out of the radiator in my room in new york. which caused me to cry hysterically and run to my friend’s apartment so that i could crash on her couch. i’ve had two cockroaches, who were (in hindsight) unsuccessfully crawling on the ceiling fall, only to land on my head and shoulder. you will never know how terrifying that feeling is until it happens to you.
in my third apartment, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when i was going to the bathroom and encountered my favorite roommate. at this point in my stay at this apartment (all of three weeks in), i kept a full can of raid in every room. as i sat down to use the toilet, a cockroach crawled out from under the shower (only two feet from the toilet). i quickly killed it with raid (while still seated with my pants down). the next day, whilst showering, one crawled into the shower. i’m sorry. but when you are fully naked and an insect of that caliber – one that i consider to be the worst kind of villain from a science fiction story – wanders into your space – it’s time to lose your cool.
i purchased about three more cans of raid. i purchased about six cans of “foam filler.” every crack and crevice in that apartment was filled was faux foam. a substance that expands and fills any and every hole you can imagine. my apartment was lined with this stuff. it wasn’t particularly pretty, but it was effective. after gap filling my apartment, 90% of those despised creatures were gone in my apartment. i still had the occasional run-in and heart attack, but after that, i really couldn’t complain too much. however. no matter where i was in that apartment, i constantly looked over my shoulder. head. feet. on a regular basis i would claim to “see something” and proceed to skulk around my apartment with a can of raid gripped tightly in my hand. not unlike a cop keeping his hand held closely to the gun his holster. you can never be too prepared.
i can’t believe (or maybe i can?) that i just rambled on about insects for an entire post. i’ll be the first to admit that when i see a fly or spider or any other house hold “guest” i will crush it and dispose of it. i am not one who releases them back into the “wild.” i also have a deep seeded fear that for every insect i kill an army of their family members will, without doubt, come and find me. smother me. bite me. and suck my blood until i die. or apologize. whichever one comes first. but i am betting that an apology will never come. i am not sorry for the roaches or spiders i have killed. so, bring it on.
i had an actual story to tell before i began rambling about roaches and spiders, so the title will stick and if i don’t see you prior to this weekend it’s because i’m in seattle wearing a bridesmaid dress on saturday.