There's A Roach In My Boot

I’m going to temporarily ignore my previous post about positivity and optimism. That will come, soon, but right now I am amped up on some anger-induced adrenaline and I can’t contain it anymore. The secret is out. My ongoing war is no longer a covert operation. My apartment (duplex, more accurately) has roaches. And. I. Have. Had. Enough.

Here’s the thing about living in a roach infested apartment. It makes you paranoid. Actually it makes you think you’re paranoid when you’re actually rational, which is worse. You see, you think you see them everywhere. I have wooden floors with lots of dark, oval spots in exactly the same size as the enormous roaches that dwell here, so I constantly think they’re roaches. And the thing is, most of the time they aren’t–but a lot of the time they are.

One morning when the weather was first cooling down in the fall, I pulled out a pair of boots I hadn’t worn in months. Something in me knew I was going to find a roach inside. I shook them upside-down. Nothing fell out. I told myself I was crazy. Put the boots on, felt a lump under my foot, took the foot out, and whadya know? My angry screams woke my boyfriend but I don’t think he could stay mad when he heard me yelling, “THERE’S A ROACH IN MY BOOT. THERE’S A ROACH IN MY MOTHER FUCKING BOOT JUST LIKE I KNEW THERE WAS GOING TO BE.”

Roaches. They make you THINK you’re crazy when you’re really not. And I hate them. The house never feels clean. It never feels solitary (who knows how many bajillions of them there are, hiding out of site?). And, dramatic though it sounds, it never feels safe. Roaches SURPRISE you, that’s why you’ve got to take the offensive with your paranoia. Better to find a roach where you suspect one than to step on one with your bare foot.

God bless my landlords. They’re nice people. They send out an exterminator regularly. And it works–you see, many of the roaches I find are on their backs, dying, I can only assume from the exterminator’s poison. But a dying roach is not the same thing as a dead one. It is definitely much worse. I don’t get them. I really don’t understand what happens. Like, I go to bed or leave for the night and they come out to play, but get poisoned and die there in the middle of the floor? The problem becomes much more serious when I spend a couple of nights away (all the more common now that my boyfriend moved). Doesn’t matter that I make sure to clean before I leave. I came home today to six enormous roaches lying there wiggling and writhing on their backs. Welcome home, honey.

(I also just spotted a seventh, in a corner, that looked like part of the wood floor until now.)

I took my dog on a walk immediately. I didn’t want to be inside. I called my boyfriend. “I need to go to a therapist, now, I can’t deal with these roaches.” I’m talking loudly in my neighborhood and I don’t care. I come home and realize I have to pick them up even though they are so big and still alive. I try to change my perspective. I try, I really try, not to be afraid. I think about people who tell stories of enormous bugs in other countries. I think about people who eat bugs. But none of that really helps. I yell at them as I squish and scoop them up. “You disgusting mother fuckers!” I hate them. Hate them. Hate them.

I’m currently living in my duplex on a month-to-month basis, meaning my yearlong lease expired and I’m not stuck here, I just have to give my landlord notice when I plan to leave. I moved here when I was working part-time and didn’t have a car. So it was super cheap rent in walking distance to my job, and kinda cute. Now I’m ready to leave. But things are complicated and I’m not ready to sign another year-long lease somewhere else. My boyfriend tonight threw out the idea that I could move back in with my parents for a little while. The commute to work would be longer but it’s doable. In fact, my dad’s even working out of town for 2 months. And my mom works an evening shift as a nurse. Normally I’d have scoffed at the idea but suddenly it appeals to me. It would get me away from the roaches.

I know I have phobic tendencies and I’ve allowed these things to become much bigger than I should. But the thing is, I can deal with some roaches. I saw them occasionally in the house growing up. Whatever. We get them in the warehouse where I work. But those aren’t in my home (and they aren’t nearly as big). My home is infested and it is a huge part of why I have given up on this place. And that’s a life-changer.

Maybe it’s because I’m already at the end of my rope after driving to and from Tallahassee in the pouring rain this weekend. If you know me, you know that driving hundreds of miles at high speeds, in the rain, is one of the most anxiety-inducing endeavors I can take on. But I did it. I made it home alive. Maybe I’m just freaking out. Maybe I feel stronger. Maybe I just wanted to come home to a home that actually felt like a retreat from the outside world instead of a grotesque shit hole. But I have had enough.

These don’t help –

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