there is something you should know about me: i HATE cockroaches. i hate everything about them. their color, their creepily long attennae, their disgusting legs, the fact that many of them can fly, and the fact that they can pretty much survive through just about anything confirms that they are the spawn of satan. they are evil, disgusting, deplorable creatures to be feared. you heard me, FEARED. i don't know when, how, or why my fear of these demons got so out of control. fear typically comes about as the result of our experiences or may often be a learned behavior. growing up, my mom was never particularly afraid of bugs. i mean, she didn't like them, but she knew how to use a can of raid. perhaps it's been the culmination of my experiences with cockroaches that solidified my terror. one particular and very recent experience comes to mind and i feel compelled to share.
remember in my october 1st post how i mentioned i'm often driving around a lot to meetings, events, etc. well, this particular day i attended an event we were hosting about an hour outside of houston. (you will see later why this tidbit of information about the time spent in my car is important.) so i make it to the event, meet with the area's united states house of representatives' congressman and other local stakeholders, and stay for part of the luncheon. i have another meeting downtown i have to make, so i quietly excuse myself. i get on interstate-45 and begin the 32 mile drive into downtown houston. in my passenger seat, i have my giant handbag large enough to carry the amount of rice needed to feed a small country for a week, a water bottle, and my laptop case. (i keep my car clean* and i don't leave crap in it, albeit the two tennis rackets in the trunk.) so i'm driving along the five-lane highway of i-45 listening to pete yorn's "crystal villages" and dodging houston traffic when all of a sudden i see a dark object slide (or crawl) across my passenger side floorboard. my immediate reaction: "oh sh*t! that had to have been a cockroach!" my heart starts racing and my palms become clammy. i turn pete yorn down (as if turning down the music will make it better), take a deep breath, briefly close my eyes (i am still driving, you know), and think through my options. "okay, meredith, you didn't actually see what it was on the floorboard. it could have been a penny. pennies are brown, right? hmm, no it was definitely bigger than a penny..." bravely, i peer down over my passenger side floorboard... NOTHING! i see nothing! success! "whew," i think, "that could have been really bad." just when my heart beat starts to return to normal and i ease back into my driver's seat, i see it dart across the floorboard!!! it IS a cockroach! a giant, disgusting, creepy crawly spawn of satan!!! i swerve into the lane to my right, barely missing an oncoming ford F-350 diesel truck.** the guy behind me flips me off and i see him mouth a word that rhymes with "ditch." i don't care. i have a creature in my car from the paleozoic era and i have no idea how it got there!! my fight or flight response kicks in: i am definitely a flight kind of person. at this point i am halfway standing up in my driver's seat, scared to touch anything in my car. i would have opened my car door and duck and rolled out onto the freeway if i could have ensured that i would have lived. i saw an approaching exit, and quickly veer over three lanes of traffic. at this point, i look around at my surroundings and realize i am in the absolute worst part of town i could have possibly been in. i don't care. i have to get to a gas station or something! i have to get out of this car. i fly into what i think is a gas station. it has one gas pump, no real sign identifying it as a legitimate fuel station, and a taco truck. i'm jumping out of the car as i'm putting it in park. i'm shaking and in a cold sweat. i look around me and realize i am surrounded by non-english speaking construction and maintenance workers eating tacos. let's just say i stuck out like a sore thumb in my three-inch heels, black pin-striped business suit, and pearl necklace. i call my mom because she always seems to know what to do.
me: "mom! you're not going to believe what just happened to me!"
mom: (pause) "what?"
me:"well, i'm driving along 45 trying to make it to this meeting i have downtown when i see a massive cockroach crawl across my floorboard! i had to get out of my car. i almost died, but i'm at a gas station or something now. and there's a taco truck. the cockroach is still in my car, i'm standing outside, and about a dozen mexican men are staring at me."
mom:"meredith, get in your car now. do you hear me? you're going to get raped. drive somewhere safer."
me:"MOM!!!! i don't think you heard me: THERE.IS.A.COCKROACH.IN.MY.CAR!!!!!! i am not going anywhere!!!! can you come get me?"
mom: "no, i cannot come get you! go somewhere safer! the cockroach is not going to bother you, but those men might."
me:"no. they are the least of my worries. baby satan is in my car! fine, i'll figure it out. if i don't call back in 10 minutes, call the police."
i stomp inside to the little gas station and shout to the clerk: "there is a cucharacha in my carro!! i need bug spray!!" (as you can see, my spanish isn't any good. i took french for six years.) the poor clerk didn't understand me, (i wonder why?) so i start running down the only two aisles in the tiny station. aqua net hairpray! that oughta do the trick! i pay five bucks for the 25 cent hairspray and run back out to my car. taking a deep breath, i fling open all my doors, and holding the aqua net like a .45 pistol, i shout, "alright! where are you, you little satan creature?!?!" nothing. there's nothing there. great. i'm just going to have to sit and wade this thing out. i sit on the curb and start to cry. (yes, i'm feeling sorry for myself.) i'm in a nice suit, a great pair of heels, my hair actually looked semi-decent that morning, and i'm sitting there crying and sweating in the 90 degree sweltering heat and humidity. all of a sudden, i see it! it crawls right out, onto the pavement, and flies off!!!!! it was gone!!! wasting no time, i slam all my doors shut, and get back into my car...
victory washed over me, and it felt good. i had slayed the dragon that day. i had an encounter with the devil, and i won. good always prevails over evil.
xo -m *you'll find i keep most things clean. germs, messes, and disorder give me panic attacks. **yes, it's true - everything is bigger in texas. that goes for trucks, too. especially trucks.
i am a: type-A perfectionist, former college athlete, current law school student, organic food eater, sports enthusiast, lover of good books, political news junkie, hot tea drinker, cockroach fearer, HGTV lover, Christ follower, acknowledged germaphobe, soulful music lover, severe food allergic person, realistic optimist, mid 20-something living the good life in texas. these are my thoughts.