One of the joys (sarcasm) of living in the south that I have discovered within the past month is cockroaches. I’d never seen any before I moved down here, and after unsuccessfully, of course, trying to kill one I saw climbing up my wall one night about a week and a half ago, I called my mom. Because that’s what you do when confronted with nasty insects in your home that you’ve never encountered before. In my high-pitched, extremely annoyed and astonished voice, I explained to her the event of seeing the cockroach, grabbing a shoe, slamming it against the wall and thinking I killed it (but oh, no, as those of you who have confronted cockroaches know, they are nigh invincible) only to discover it hanging out on the backside of my bookshelf, attempting to get it again with a spatula (and failing again), and then its disappearing act. Having moved to Georgia herself last November, she was quite familiar with this evasive little insect and co-miserated while laughing at my outrage at my home having been infected by them. The kind around here aren’t the massive black mutant cockroaches (thank Goddess because I think I would have a nervous breakdown if I saw one of those on my wall), but rather the small-medium orange-ish reddish ones. Either way, they still freak me out.
I write about cockroaches because one has decided to approach me as I sit out here on the patio by the pool, though it knows better than to get to close and is keeping its distance at a good 3 feet. The only reason why I’m not killing it is because we are outside and all and I have issues with killing most bugs when I’m outside (seeing as it is – or should be – their territory) unless they’re hurting me in some way. Like mosquitos. I’ll kill mosquitos anywhere I am. Alas, I digress. Back to roaches. I remember my mom telling me that scientists have somehow figured out that the cockroach would be the only living thing to survive a nuclear holocaust. Now how the hell do they know that? A nuclear holocaust isn’t something you can exactly create in a lab. Well, I did a little research (read: I checked wikipedia because I’m lazy), and this whole nuclear war thing is because they can withstand much more exposure to radiation than we can. Also, their cells only divide when they’re molting (which happens either only once a week or once a month – I forget) which also helps in this regard. But, not to worry, the cockroach won’t be alone post-nuclear holocaust. Its companion will be the fruit fly, who has an even higher tolerance for radiation. Lovely. But hey, I won’t be there, so what do I care?
I’ve been slightly torn in regards to my hatred of cockroaches, though, cause I’m trying to embrace this whole idea of respecting every creature and living thing. And I really only respect cockroaches after they’re dead. Even with other insects and the like that I’m not particularly fond of (like bees), I recognize they have a purpose, and that purpose is important. But what do cockroaches do? For that matter, what the hell do mosquitoes do? Gnats? Chiggers? All those nasty little biting/stinging insects? I mean, sure, they’re food for other animals, but seriously – if they were gone, I’m sure their predators could find something else to munch on. Alas, it seems as though this may be one of life’s great mysteries…so, in the mean time, Combat and Raid are still my best friends.
Sidenote: that popular Mexican song – yeah, the translation is “The Cockroach.” Though, supposedly it’s about some prostitute that would visit Mexican soldiers or maybe about a period in Mexican history when the soldiers marched in triple time. The research is a bit spotty on the soldier bit, but cockroaches are indeed fast little buggers. Sucks to be that prostitute, though.