Cockroaches are one those pests which seem to live everywhere. At least everywhere in urban areas. When we first moved to our current New York City apartment, GV was more than mildly upset when she saw our first cockroach (cucaracha). She immediately went out and restocked our apartment with even more cleaning chemicals than we had and gave the place a thorough going over — complete with strategically placed killer cockroach food pods.
Nevertheless, a few months later, one appeared again. This time, it was found belly up. She was still upset. We had the building exterminator into our place several times over the next few months. But that did not stop the occasional visitor. Like most buildings that are not new, the problem was not with our apartment, they just live in the buildings.
GV eventually came to make peace with the cucarachas. Having gone from visibly shaken and wanting to move, to now simply saying, “there is a cucaracha behind the table,” represented a dramatic change in perspective (she tells me where they are because, as much as she’s accepted their existence, she still won’t pick them up for disposal). At least now, the ones we do find every few months are belly up and easily disposed of (the pods work).
We all have cockroaches in our lives. Those things, life or situation pests, that we just wish didn’t exist. And no matter how much we try to eradicate them, they won’t go away. Then, when we decide to accept the cockroaches, or make peace with them, they become less of a problem then they otherwise seemed.
I’m biding time hoping that my swollen neck and crazy tongue don’t become my new cockroaches. As much as I have no choice but to accept the constant discomfort, I’m hoping that these two issues will slowly move away. I really don’t want to make peace with the lymph fluid that has collected in my neck. But maybe I need to.
Strangely, as I was contemplating this lymph fluid yesterday, walking down another sidewalk in another city (Bangkok), I spotted a cockroach unwittingly coming at me at a fast pace. To avoid a head-on, I did a kind of skip and leap. Trying to avoid me at the last second, the cockroach must have been thinking the same thing. He had zigged and zagged so quickly that as I landed, we actually had a head-on. It was more like a head-toe as he ran into the big toe edging over the top of my flip flop.
I freaked. So did he. We both made different leaps in the opposite direction and wouldn’t you know it, he ran into my other foot, this time staring at my one of my middle toes. We both froze.
My first instinct was to squash him then and there. He caused me to embarrassingly let out a shriek while doing a not so eloquent public dance. I’d show him. But then, in an instant I thought, ‘wait, this is the cockroach’s domain. I’m just a visitor.’ I then slowly backed away, made a moderately wide circle and carried on. I made peace with that cockroach.