When I lived in Libya, there was a saying, "You know you're a real ex-pat when you can kill a roach with your bare feet," a bare feat (groan) I never mastered. The huge, black flying roaches encountered there were horrific, appearing through the gaps around the poorly fitted wall a/c unit and flying straight into your hair. They could turn a man into a blubbering baby in a matter of moments so you can only imagine my response. I was terrorized. However, while I've yet to kill one with my naked plates-of-meat, decades as an ex-pat have given me enough resistance to cope with them ugly roachy beasties. A rolled-up newspaper is all it takes to transform me into a killin' machine.
I wish the same could be said for mosquito hawks or "crane flies." Some say they look like big mosquitoes. I say they look like giant flying spiders. And because of the 2011 drought and our welcome spring rains, Texas abounds with them. They knock at the glass doors by the hundred trying to get in, "Helloooooo, heeeellooooo!" That's enough to freak me out but worse, they know there's a little gap by a side window at my house, and they file in with one intent: to frighten me out of my wits.
"There's Miss Bernadette," they sing in a Texan country drawl, as they fly into my hair "Come on in, all y'all! Party-time!"
A rolled-up newspaper won't do it; them bugs too quick. My cats won't do it; them moggies too slow. It's ridiculous that 20 years in A-TX has not yet given me the ex-pat oomph to rise above it; that any creature has to die because I'm such a cowardly, lily-livered wuss. And yet, in between flapping my arms like a crazy woman and running screaming from room to room, I blog in the dark this morning with a long-handled fly swat alongside me. And I ponder the age-old question all ex-pats ask: "Why does everything in Texas have to be so dad-gummed BIG?"