Bugging Out

By Betsy Bradford

I listened to "April in Paris" by David Sedaris shortly before I moved to North Carolina. Early in the story, Sedaris talks about the wolf spiders he saw growing up in Raleigh, which he describes as "shaggy" and "the size of a baby's hand." After arriving in North Carolina, I watched avidly for these spiders, terrified of finding them in my bed or squirming in my kitchen.

A year and a half later, I have never seen a wolf spider. Instead, I've received roaches. In droves. I had encountered cockroaches before I moved to the south, but I'd never had one in my house. It's been especially bad lately; the record breaking heat has been driving them into the cool interior through any crack they can find. Generally, I can go weeks at a time without seeing any roaches. In the last 48 hours, three sizeable bugglies have managed to wriggle their way into my home.

I'm generally a pacifist, but I give roaches no quarter. Spiders, flies, and lightning bugs I will ignore, but cockroaches? Never. I do feel a little bad for the chitinous invaders. From their perspective, they've found a lovely place to escape from the hot, stagnant air outside. They're just settling in, making themselves comfortable in a pile of laundry or dashing for the refrigerator, when suddenly an angry giant appears, intent on ending their life.

I've won several battles lately, but it's hard to feel too happy. It's not that I think I'm losing the war. I know I am. I mean, how could it be otherwise? The roaches have eons on us, and it's generally acknowledged they will be here long after us. Evolution is on their side, and they're beating us in sheer numbers. And what do I have to go against all that?

I have a shoe.