~ Thursday, December 22, 2005 ~
Let me begin by saying that I hate cockroaches. I hate them so much that even though I refuse to squash insects and spiders, I make exceptions for cockroaches. It began when I lived on the upper west side on a first-floor apartment, and had fairly frequent encounters with them. I'd be doing work in my room or making myself dinner in the kitchen or shuffling into the bathroom in the morning and there on the floor would be this shiny cockroach sitting there as if it owned the place. First I'd try to take them outside by coaxing them onto a folded sheet of paper and carrying the paper outside and shaking the cockroach off, but the cockroaches would spurn my efforts to be merciful. Once, I was trying to catch and take outside a cockroach I'd found in the entryway when I walked inside. When I tried to maneuver it into my makeshift paper trap, it ran into the coat closet. I opened the closet and it scuttled deeper inside into a dark shadowy corner, behind the empty cardboard boxes we inexplicably stored there. I flushed it out and it vanished. Where was it? I know I saw it leave the closet, but where could it have gone? The apartment wasn't that big.... I hesitantly decided it must have left through the front door I had forgotten to close, and made a cursory check in the outer hall. No cockroach. I gave up and closed the front door, only to find that it had been quietly hiding in the space between the open door and the floor. How do they do it? It's as if they know they're driving you mad, and they enjoy it! One evening, when I found one on the kitchen counter, I think I finally snapped. I guided it toward one of the burners of our stove and turned on the gas. Even now, two years later, and living in a place that is blessedly free of the things, there is still a special portion of my brain that I devote exclusively to hating cockroaches.
Now, I'm not usually a gloaty sort of person, but during the strike I really had something to gloat about. I watched lots and lots of people trying patiently, defeatedly, to hail a cab or make a carpool with the requisite four passengers, only to sit in parking lot traffic for hours as they tried to enter or leave Manhattan during the morning and evening sludge hours. Others walked the several miles to and from work in the just-under-freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, all the bicyclists were darting around in the negative spaces, passing the long lines of cars stopped at green lights because they're stuck in gridlock or whooshing by the surly pedestrians. I took the Manhattan Bridge home last night (the Brooklyn Bridge was too congested with pedestrians, and the police were making the bicyclists dismount and walk) and as I approached the bridge's onramp, I paused a moment to take in the sight: dozens of anonymous blinking silhouettes zipping out from the mouth of the bike path into the street where all the cars were stuck immobile, while just as many other blinking silhouettes were extricating themselves effortlessly from the traffic jam as the mouth of the bike path slurped them up.
It gave me the distinct, and shockingly pleasant, impression of being a cockroach. With lights. A smart cockroach with lights whose quick scuttly race will survive long after the humans, with their bloated modes of transportation, will have destroyed themselves.
Current Music: Impossible, TMBG
~ prattled by Miriam at 4:11 p.m. [+]
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