The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, March 28, 2005


After having only gotten a few hours of sleep last night, I am pretty tired today. This is not because I had an oral argument to prepare for, or a paper due, or even reading to catch up on. Nope, it was because I spent the better half of my evening yelling at and chasing around "the bug" in my room. This thing had sorry, HAS (since I never found him) lots of arms, probably around 50, and it was albino and it ran faster than a cheetah...not that I have ever had a cheetah in my room. If I did, though, this bug would have beat it! After losing the bug somewhere behind the bed, I decided to give up and go to sleep. Only problem is that since I never found him, I had to sleep with all of my lights on, one eye open, and the covers pulled up over my head. You may be thinking 'she is such a girl to be scared of some stupid bug.' I feel like I should defend myself and explain that my fear of bugs goes beyond being a girly thing. I assure you this is no "I am helpless and need a big strong man to kill the bug for me" moment. In fact, I have lived with and dated enough lazy guys in my life to know that is a lost cause. I blame my acute fear on some specific childhood memories that I would like to share with you:

First, there was the cockroach incident of the early 80's. Growing up in Southern Louisiana, I learned at an early age that cockroaches come in different shapes and sizes (big and huge) and that they do, in fact, fly. The house that I grew up in was in your typical suburban neighborhood. When we moved in, the neighborhood was fairly new and our neighbors were whatever critters were in the overgrown fields next door. One of the species of neighbor that often times invited themselves over were that huge flying cockroach breed. I recall fondly those times of sitting around watching TV as a family, only to look up and notice one of them crawling upside down across the white gabled acoustic ceiling. At that point, light switches were thrown, and dad ran to the kitchen to get the roach spray while we all piled on the sofa with mom hoping the roach would not lose his grip and fall. (Southern entertainment at it's best.) Dad would return and aim the extraordinarily long nozzle at the ceiling, which was a good 18 feet away. The moment the roach felt that first drop of Raid, he began flying around the room in a sporadic, presumably painful fit. Not sure what my brothers did at this point, but I sure remember screaming bloody murder.

No matter how often I came across those six inch cockroach monsters, I never got used to them. I think it went back further to when I was an even smaller Law-Rah. I am not sure how old I was, but I know that I was still so tiny that I had to climb up onto the toilet and upon taking my seat, my feet would dangle a foot or so off the ground. It was late one night (possibly 8:00 or so) and I think there was something going on at my house; perhaps dad's poker friends, or something of the sort. The kids had all been put to bed already, but I needed to go to the bathroom. Instead of going in the front of the house and risk being seen in my pink nightgown, I decided to use my parent's bathroom in the back of the house. While doing what I needed to do (quite proud that I was able to do this on my own now), I remember spotting the biggest meanest cockroach ever crawling toward me from about ten feet away. He was coming straight at me and I just started screaming. This did not stop him or scare him. I just screamed and screamed. Of course, no one could hear me because I was on the other side of the house and I was probably not as loud as I am now. I'm not sure of the outcome of that evening, I just remember somehow climbing up on top of the toilet seat and staying there for a while.

A few years later came the June bug incident. I was admittedly at the stage where bugs should not scare me anymore. I was in fifth grade and it was the middle of the summer. Growing up with boys can sometimes make life as the only girl a little difficult. My older brother and all of his friends had pitched a tent and gone camping in the backyard. Well, almost. They ended up coming inside to sleep. Of course, this meant my best friend and I had to make fun of the whimps. This served as a challenge. "You are girls, you could never do it." Ha, we would see about that. I think it was the next night that we decided to prove them wrong. Partially because I was a girl, and partially because I tend to overdo everything, our camping evening wasn't quite "roughing" it. We ran a few extension cords to the tent in the back yard. We had a radio, a miniature television, our caboodles for our makeup, and a box fan to cool things off on that hot summer Louisiana night. We had it ALL figured out. We positioned the box fan at the entrance of the tent and pulled the zipper down snug against the top of the fan. Apparently, we had not thought this all the way through. Although the fan placement kept the tent somewhat enclosed, neither of us thought of the fact that the fan was not solid and could be permeated by critters. The instant we flipped the fan to ON, we were showered with the June bugs that had been accumulating while we were getting situated. Tents back in the late 80's were not as large and spacious as they are now. This is especially true when you and your best friend have shoved half of your bedroom into suitcases and placed them inside a two person tent. After a whole lot of screaming and bugs in our mouths, we eventually got out and admitted defeat that night.

I think it was 1992 when our family took our last real family vacation together. (And for good reason, we can make the Griswald's look boring.) Ma and Pa decided to take us young'uns to Disney World. My older brother and I were in high school and my younger brother was probably about eleven. I guess my mom realized we had outgrown our fear of critters and decided to try to bring it all back. She purchased a small rubber cockroach that looked eerily realistic and spent her time at Disney World scaring people. We did Disney in December, so, it was pretty crowded. Standing in line for one of the rides, we were doing that thing where the line winds back and forth and you see the same people over and over. We were making some friends. Until, that is, mom got bored. My younger brother, probably going through his "too cool for the family" stage, was standing a few feet in front of the rest of the family in this one particular line. (Okay, maybe he was still mad at us for the night before when he took a thirty minute shower and came out completely dry, so someone made reference to his 'imaginary bathroom friend' and we all laughed at him all night.) Anyway, younger bro was drinking something red out of a cup with no lid. While the cup was innocently being held by his side, mom slipped in her little rubber roach friend. The next sip younger bro took ended with a scream and a dropping/throwing of the cup and red stuff splashing all over the guy in line in front of us. The worst part is when "not happy" guy turned around, my brother just stood there as the rest of us rolled around laughing behind him. (Perhaps that story doesn't say much as to why I am SCARED of bugs, but it was a bug story and I felt like laughing.)

There were a few other bug stories over time like when I begged my parents to behave when my date to the Senior Prom showed up because he was really shy and scared of parents. Mom promised...right before she found very real looking fake flies to sprinkle in his bootaneer. Thankfully, Mikey was so scared, he could not actually move to jump or scream upon finding them.

Anyway, now that you have had a glimpse into my somewhat disturbing childhood, everyone can understand where this bug fear in my life came from and why it stayed with me for so long. That being said, in order to get some good sleep tonight, I will probably crash on the sofa. (Until that albino 50 leg critter shows himself again.)