Living alone can have its advantages. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to be 100% selfish, lazy, or goofy ridiculous without any witnesses. I certainly do not object to complete control of the bed, television, music, and how things are stored and decorated. It is also rather enjoyable to lie on the couch eating peanut butter and chocolate chips directly out of the jar while watching back-to-back Friends reruns in my sweatpants without any fear of being judged. But who am I trying to fool? I’d do those things no matter who’s around, and to be honest, not even Al Qaeda moving in with automatic weapons and a hijab could stop me.
Just as living alone has its “pros” list, it very much has an equally compelling “cons” list.
Case and point: 4:57am.
My alarm was blaring. It had been sounding its fury for a few minutes and I was just starting to enter stage three of my daily wake up ritual. Stage one is, “Why does my awesome dream have a siren sounding randomly out of the blue?” Stage two is flat out denial. As I am dragged into stage three, referred to as “coherence”, I have found I must immediately turn on a light or the television- anything to stimulate my brain and prevent the dreaded, “how did I fall asleep again?” In these instances I rely on the trusty inner panic of, “Oh sh**, I’m going to be late if I don’t get out of bed now!” My final fail safe is the slap of a paw across the face as my dog gets irritated by the alarm racket I’m soundly sleeping through.
On this particular morning, “coherence” quickly met “panic.” Not the panic of, “What time is it? Am I late again?” Rather it was a more sinister panic that gripped my heart like a vice and refused to let go. I had flailed to turn on a lamp, struggled to open my eyes, only to be rewarded with horror. The first sight my brain registered was enough to turn my stomach into an Olympic gymnastics vault…
A large ominous silhouette was spookily cast across my ceiling. I would have given anything for it to be Peter Pan’s missing shadow, but alas, this dark devil belonged to a giant evil bug. An intruder. A monster of the night. A stealthy stocker no doubt attempting to turn me into prey. This particular insect/beast of terror was a specimen I had never encountered before. It was a species with, in my estimate, about 18,000 legs. 18,000 too many I might add. Beyond the sheer horror of the leg count, I recall that it was the fiery reddish/orange/iridescent creepiness that launched me from my bed onto the floor. Great way to start the day, I know! Making matters worse, I smashed my knee into the corner of my nightstand on the way down. Word to the wise- when attempting to escape with your life, a painful knee injury never helps.
As I cowered on the floor, it occurred to me that bugs inside are like evil b*tchy girls (or the stereotypical church women); they are the most dangerous when you turn your back on them and walk away. What to do? What to do? What to do? I determined that it was far too risky to try and kill it while it was still on my ceiling. So much could go wrong. It wasn’t hard to envision 80,000 little loathsome legs descending onto my face, and feasting on my eyeballs before crawling up my nose and taking over my brain. (I’ve never lacked for an imagination, but it was working against me here.) Another risk I could not afford to take was that the little demon would drop onto my bed and somehow become lost in the sheets, or worse- escape altogether.
I decided the best approach would be to spray it with pesticides. Poison, yes, such a helpful friend! Then, once the evil insect dropped from the ceiling I would beat any remaining life out of it with my weapon of choice- a nearby Nike running shoe. My dilemma was finding the bug spray before the villain retreated to attack another day, or worse- multiply. Realizing I couldn’t watch it and gather my arsenal at the same time, I quickly sprinted towards the garage as fast as my two legs could move me (by the way, it is totally unfair to be at a 17,998 leg disadvantage). Arriving in the garage in a huff, my heart sunk as I discovered my trusty stock of pesticides and bug killer was empty. What are the odds? I usually rank these items as top priority essentials on my shopping lists, far above optional luxuries like toilet paper and laundry soap. The only bottle I could find was KaBoom, a shower cleaning spray. I had zero interest in polishing the heinous creature up and sending it on its way with a shine, but I figured KaBoom had to be fairly toxic. My experiences in scrubbing with this chemical warhead in a spray bottle had always left my eyes burning for hours. It would have to do!
Desperately wishing I had paid better attention in Physics, I tried to determine how much liquid force would be required to catapult the glowing attack bug from my ceiling, safely past the bed, down onto the floor where I could instantly crush it to its final death. My fear of the 2 ½ inch monster dropping onto my bed almost left me paralyzed. This nightmare scenario was definitely keeping me from acting too hastily. What were my options? What was I dealing with?
Growing concerned that this unidentified creepy crawler might possess some sort of superpower (or Go-Go-Gadget talons), I thought it would be wise if I did a little research on my new-found foe. Grabbing my computer, I typed a description into the search window. This did not help matters. My search brought up a host of horrible identities and factoids, options worse than even my overactive mind could produce. Concluding that whoever said, “knowledge is power” was gravely mistaken, I decided to celebrate raw violence and return to my previous plan.
Showing the nimbleness of a ninja warrior, I strategically aligned myself for the perfect shot: deftly placing one foot on my windowsill and the other on my footboard. Why all the effort you ask. Simple, I had to be high enough to ensure that the force of the spray would effectively project the repulsive rascal across my very off-limits bed and down to the ground. This was a key element to my freedom fighting plot.
Sighting in my target, I pulled the trigger and began to spray the ceiling with a Rambo worthy battle cry. However, much to my dismay it darted behind my light fixture… The bastard! No worries, this only momentarily foiled my assault. I quickly repositioned to the top of my dresser and fired off a few more well-placed sprays. This had the desired result. I gleefully watched thousands of legs squirming in the air as it did a movie-quality slow motion fall from the heavens. A nano-second after it made contact with the ground, whatever remaining life it had was quickly (and brutally) extinguished with a swift blow. The last thing my vile assailant saw was a giant Swoosh descending down on it with the force of a sledge hammer.
Sure, my duvet cover is bleached, I’m most likely going blind, and that bug’s eerie purple insides are grounded into my (new) carpet- but hey… I’m wide awake.