Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the Still of the Night

Today’s Coinage: Slog-Blog, noun The state of being in which you feel compelled to post to your blog, but have no idea what to write.

One of the reasons I began this blog was to hone my writing skills by having to write each day. Today, I am tired and inspiration is scarce. I might have packed it in if I had not gone to the blog of Coach Danny (with an idea to send him a thank-you comment) and read his very apt recent post about motivation, determination and purpose. It was his talk at an FWA writers group meeting some months ago that inspired me onto the path of blogging. Thanks for another great spotting job today, Coach Danny.

So, onward. I have had several nights in a row with not enough sleep. Last night was interrupted by a rare (praise for the pest control professionals), but almost unavoidable fact of Florida life, the middle-of-the-night cucaracha shuffle.

I hate the things. I am not terrified of them like I am spiders, (a deep irrational fear of their archetypal shape even), but who, after all, likes the idea of any really large insect in the house? Then, there are all of the negative associations with cockroaches: of uncleanliness, of disease, of filth.

The best cockroach is the absent cockroach.

The second-best cockroach is the really, most sincerely dead cockroach (to paraphrase the Munchkins).

The worst cockroach is the living, high-speed semi-healthy version that somehow got into your house and has not yet been felled by the insecticide tens of thousands of generations of its ancestors died to make this one almost immune to.

And the very, very worst is when the type described above runs between your feet while you are in the dark bathroom barefoot, (discommoded, as it were) and unable to run.

My shrieks would have awakened people for blocks except for the fact that in summer in Orlando houses are all sealed up. You go, central air! They did succeed in waking the spousal unit who staggered, practically blind without his glasses, into the fray. With him guarding my flank, I leapt from my, ahem, throne and raced out the door.

Safely tucked back in bed, I heard the sounds of the epic battle from behind closed door (the better to keep the vermin from leaving for less hostile territory). Smash! (Pause) Smash! (Pause, slight crinkling sound) Smash! Then silence.

“Is it dead?”

“Yes, it’s dead.”

“You didn’t stomp on it in your bare feet, did you? Don’t get into bed with me if you stomped on it with your bare foot, even if you washed it.”

“Euww. No, I didn’t stomp on it with my foot. That’s disgusting!”

Me, suspiciously, “Well what did you use to make that thumping sound then? There aren’t any big books in the bathroom.”

“I used the Listerine bottle.”

“Oh, my God, I can never rinse with that again.”

Score: 15, Husband; Love, Bug. (Please, no Herbie jokes.)

Now, that the adrenaline spike was over, I became aware of pain in my arm, specifically my shoulder, A LOT OF PAIN, AGONIZING PAIN.

“Why does my arm hurt?”

My leg was hurting too, but that familiar throbbing I understood. When the Palmetto Bug (a cockroach by any other name) began his dastardly dash between my legs on an attempted escape run back to whence he came after I had disturbed his nocturnal ramblings, I, of course, lifted my feet off the floor while simultaneously screaming and spasming every muscle in my body. The hamstring and ligaments I tore last summer in my left leg still protest when any sort of insult like this occurs, so the leg pain did not surprise me.

But I couldn’t figure out the arm thing. Two Aleves and twenty minutes later the pain had dulled enough that I began to believe that sleep might be possible once more and to actually care enough to allow me to think about how it happened. It wasn’t like I had attempted to arm-wrestle the vile bug.

A re-creation of events by my faithful spousal sleuth and vermin slayer gave answer to the mystery. The best way to explain it to you visually is to say imagine Vitruvian Man (or, in this case, woman) centered as it were in a seated posture. That is to say, when I threw my legs up and out, I also threw out my arms and my right shoulder struck the corner of the vanity, and I didn’t even realize it or feel it at the time.

Score: 15 All.

Welcome, once again, to Florida. There are more creatures in this swamp than just the gators and the politicians, Horatio.


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