Posted by: emjb | June 15, 2005

In Canada, they worry more aboot the moose

My Canadian co-worker was recently horrified to discover a “large, black beetle-y bug” in her apartment. “What is it? I’ve never seen one before!” she exclaimed. I had to give her the bad news; it’s a roach. A huge, ugly, makes-noise-when-it-moves roach. Apparently, they don’t grow them that big in Canada. She didn’t believe me until she looked up pictures on the internet.

One of her neighbors said to her “Oh maybe it’s just a ‘water bug.'” Again, I had to tell her, don’t be fooled, this is a euphemism. Water bug=roach. Big, ugly, disease-carrying New York roach. Welcome to America, Canuck!

I have refrained from telling her my most comi-tragic roach story, but I’ll share it with you. When I was 5 or so, my father worked in Saudi Arabia, and during summer vacation, we would go stay with him. It was a very strange experience in many ways, but not bad. One time, we made a special trip to Riyadh and stayed in what was supposedly a very posh rental cottage in a resort area. It was nice, except that it was infested with large numbers of **giant roaches**. These were the big suckers, the kind that make clicking noises on linoleum. My five year old self, unprepared for this invasion of the insect kingdom, freaked the hell out. I leaped on top of an ottoman in the living room and refused to leave it. I was sure the shag carpeting was crawling with them, and they would jump me and crawl all over me with their grossness and maybe bite me (I wasn’t sure about this last part). I was mostly just icked out beyond my ability to bear. I screamed and cried when ordered to leave my ottoman to get ready for dinner. I finally had to be carried out.

My brother thought it was *hilarious*, of course, the jerk, but then he was big enough to stomp them and I wasn’t. Also, he was a jerk. So I decided during dinner that I needed some sort of weapon to even the score, and as we walked back, snagged a small branch from under a tree. I slept with it next to me, determined to wallop any roach that approached me in the night. I got made fun of for it too, but I didn’t care. If I couldn’t get away from the roaches, I was going to give them a fight.

I’m glad I didn’t know then about the kinds of roaches that can fly. I still try not to think about those. I don’t think I’ll tell my Canadian friend, either. Better not to know.


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