I was born in Idaho, grew up in California, went to college in Illinois, actually really grew up in California again, and now I am here in Alabama.
Alabama has been, by far, the hardest state to adapt to. Oh, I know, your mind immediately jumps to Alabama’s darker history of racism, backwoods ignorance, and hate. Nope, not talking about that! Sure it must exist in parts of this state, but I live in one of the cities and and it’s generally something that people have worked hard to get rid of – or at least hide – here.
I am talking about BUGS. [queue girlish squirming and “eeeewww” face]
Bugs an I have an interesting history. As a child I played with all that I could get my hands on. As an adult I will squeal and dance and run if a lady bug lands on me. I can’t explain where this “phobia” (not an actual clinical phobia, obviously) came from. It just evolved, like many of my other weird fears that never used to exist.
At any rate, I digress. I have never in my life seen so many bugs. Not just the different types, but the proliferation of them. Red wasps, black wasps, regular wasps, mud dobbers, yellow jackets, hornets, bumble bees, honey bees, carpenter bees, gigantic-i-dont-know-what-you-are-but-you’re-scary bees, black ants, red ants, carpenter ants, mosquitos, mosquito-hawks, water skippers, cicadas, the-other-even-bigger-scarier-aggressive cicadas, lady bugs, fireflies, fruit flies, house flies, may flies, dobson flies, praying mantis, stick bugs, a variety of moths, a variety of spiders, daddy long legs, centipedes, house centipedes, millipedes, water bugs, palmetto bugs, wood roaches, german roaches, american roaches, stink bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, kissing bugs, june bugs…. I’m sure there’s more, but I think you get the point.
Mind you, these are just the bugs that I have seen and/or been attacked by. The State of Alabama has 354 different species of bugs, insects, and spiders. YUCK!
It is quite often that I find myself with an uninvited guest in my home. Let me set the scene for you:
A young woman of 30 going on 31 tires of her toiling life at home where she works 70-80 hours a week just to be too poor to even afford new clothes or eye glasses. She got offered a full time position from her (then) part time job, if she moved to Alabama.
Alabama? You mean like… Deliverance, Alabama?. She thought as the opening bar of Dueling Banjos played in her head. Never having been to the South, she only had stereotypes and hearsay to go by. She told her boss she would think about it, and went home to think. She poked around online and saw the prices of apartments and houses in the area. She was agape at how low the prices were, for how nice the apartments looked online. Looking around her tiny dingy apartment that she paid more for than of what she saw online, she figured “why not?” She took a trip out to the city she’d be moving to, and was pleasantly surprised by the local natural beauty and the kindness of the residents. She knew she’d be content to live there.
Fast forward to May 2013, 3 months into her new Alabama residency. She’d been battling this new found foe, The Wood Roach. She’d fought a valiant battle with her Raid can and vacuum cleaner, but these gargantuan pony-sized cockroaches still kept invading her home. With each cringe worthy “thunk” as she vacuumed up another fallen enemy, she knew another would take its place.
One night, she’d been asleep in bed: oblivious to the world. Tickle, tickle. Something roused her from sleep enough to sluggishly brush the top of her head before dropping back into oblivion. Tickle, tickle, tickle at the top of her head again. Once more she dozily brushed at her head before again slipping back away. Tickle, tickle! This time the tickle was on her arm and her sleep addled brain finally triggered the fact that something was incredibly wrong! She leaped out of bed like it was on fire, just in time to see a truck sized wood roach scuttle off her her pillow, across the bed, and down the other side.
OH GOD, OH GOD, OH GOD! She internally panicked as she charged out of the bedroom and into the kitchen cabinet under the sink where she kept the Raid. She tip-toed back into her bedroom, armed and ready. She would not rest until this nefarious creature was pushing up daisies.
The siege ensued. Interwebs intelligence told her that these roaches, unlike their indoor infesting cousins, were attracted to light. She stood in ready anticipation, every light in the room blazing. She knew this unholy creature would eventually give in to its blind instinct and head for the light – both literally and proverbially.
Time became irrelevant as she stood perched, ready and waiting. At long last the malignant 6 legged monstrosity skittered its way from under the protection of the bed.
“AHA! I’VE GOT YOU NOW!” She shouted in triumph: the chase was on.
Spraying with maniacal glee she chased the monster down, “Die! Die, damn you! DIE!” She yelled. With a stubborn defiance the creature ran on, zigzagging left and right. She refused to let this foe triumph.
At long last, and 5 gallons of Raid later, the slain enemy lay at her feet. Retrieving her vacuum cleaner she sucked the villain up into its dusty grave.
Your invitation is revoked, Sir. She thought with grim satisfaction.