Monday, June 3, 2013

Blatta Orientalis Learns the Hard Way

As the mercury rises here in Austin, Texas, so the bugs are re-appearing.  This morning, I heard movement in my waste paper basket and knew it was a cockroach.  And there it was, big ol' feelers waving in the air!  Ugh!  I was reminded of my first cockroach sighting in Tripoli.  I was unfamiliar with the little beasties...had never seen one before.  Here's a snippet from a May 1984 letter to my mother, telling her about that experience.

"The weather is now beginning to get really hot, even when the sun isn't shining, and the old-timers tell me to stop moaning because it will be very much hotter than this soon so I'd better get used to it.  Yesterday I had two giant ants in my flat, each one about an inch long and very fat.  I managed to kill both of them before I had time to think, but it made me rather nervous of what was yet to come.  Shall I tell you what was yet to come?  COCKROACHES!  I have encountered my first one.  It was in a paper carrier bag containing tissue paper.  I could hear it rustling when I went to bed last night but convinced myself that the noise was coming from outside the flat -- a wild dog rummaging through some rubbish, maybe -- although I knew deep down that I was kidding myself.  Anyhow, the moving tissue paper was the very first thing I heard when I awoke this morning so I just had to do something about it.  I shifted the bag slowly (having worked out where the sound was coming from) and there it was, an inch and a half long, black and shiny, and running away from me.  Fool!  It should've known better than to run.  I grabbed the insect pray (lethal even to humans) and released almost the whole tin in the corner of the room where the roach had stopped; a little extravagant you may think but after all it is my first confrontation with the horrible little buggers.  I shall find out this evening just what my actions have done.  I was too scared to look before getting on the bus in case it hadn't worked...

Well, I've just got back and the cockroach has disappeared.  Either it managed to survive and I've wasted a whole tin of murder-gas; or cockroaches come back to retrieve their dead.  I don't know which is worse."

Blatta Orientalis

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