Legs Up

“Cj…” DL whispers, nodding toward the dank dark floor of Utopia, its ickee cement a situation I usually avoid looking at. But now, I follow her gaze. EEEEEWWWWW!

“Is that a Cockroach?” I ask, aghast and queasy.
She nods. Sandy sits up from the top bench of Utopia, shakes her head. “They just fumigated the place.”

“Looks like it worked?” I venture.

“Nope, if it had, we wouldn’t be looking at what we’re looking at. Would you mind calling the front desk, Denise?” Sandy asks. “Let them know we saw a dead cockroach in the sauna. Legs up.”

DL nods. Sandy continues, “This is what happens when people bring food in here. Why last week, someone brought glass into the hot tub and it broke and they had to close the joint for two days.” She harrumphs, shaking her head. “I mean, c’mon, People! Get a clue! You can’t bring glass in here. It’s a hazard. You can’t bring food in here. It results in….” She wrinkles her nose, nodding toward Legs Up.
DL scurries out of the sauna. I’m right behind her. Disgusting! It was so large and brown and plastic looking. Like a cockroach facsimile. Yet it was real. Or had been.

The Downtown Oakland Y’s pool has been closed for weeks. Some sort of project with the sound abatement. Like any kind of sound abatement would keep the screaming kids from making me want to drown them? In any case, I haven’t been to the Oakland Y cuz of this pool closure and tonight, my first night back in weeks, had been okay pool wise. But now, Cockroaches in Utopia?
I didn’t need that.

As I head over to the lockers to change, I almost run smack into Doreen. She’s standing in the middle of the locker room, staring into space, shower cap on, towel wrapped around her, shaking her head slowly. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she chuckles softly to me. “I guess I’m imprinting an entomological image in my mind.”

She could only be talking about The Cockroach! I grin, “Yeah, it’s imprinted on my mind too. Wish it weren’t!”

She laughs. “You know, with my health (she has some sort of intense stage 4 cancer), I can’t be around vermin like that. It’s a danger to me.”

I nod, “Yeah, I bet. Sandy said that they had fumigated the Sauna.”

Doreen snorts, “When? In the last election!?”

We both crack up as I leave her to her entomological musings. I wonder about Doreen. She surprises me. Did she want to be an entomologist too when she was a kid? I remember when I was very young, maybe 6 or 7 or 9? I dunno, but young, and grown-ups would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I’d say, “An Entomologist.” Cute, right? But I really liked bugs. I remember being fascinated with spiders and their webs, capturing bees and flies with Paul Watson from across the street. Tossing the victims into the spider’s web. Watching in rapt fascination as the spider sped across the web, grabbing the stuck fly, and wrapping it up into a paralyzed cocoon.
Maybe I missed my calling? Now that I’m laid off, there are all sorts of opportunities, right? Maybe I could go back to school and become an entomologist at long last.

Or a fumigator.
There might be more need for that.
At least at the downtown Oakland Y!

Comments

Anonymous said…
OMG legs up! I’ll have image always imprinted. And Paul Watson? A blast from the past there. But I’ll alwas remember your spider bush! Thanks for another great story. >^..^<
Cj said…
Thanks for reading, Anon! Yeah, that entomological imprint lasts and lasts and lasts! Yuck! And, Paul Watson? Wonder what happened to him. He was a strange kid, but a good bug co-conspirator!
Anonymous said…
Cockroach Abhorrence...

You both come by this mental state of yuk from me. As a very small child, ( 7 years) I used to watch the roaches crawl around the shower, bath of basement apartment in Whittier. We were so poor and the war made impossible for a family of five to fine a decent place to live. Mother would try to keep the place clean, but the basement was very old, and damp so the walls literally sweated year round. The roaches were part of my existence for that year. It was on record as the most rain in decade...1943.

When we were first married and living across campus in a small duplex, there was again a roach infestation. I didn't know about it until after we were married. Robert had rented the place before the wedding, and he was oblivious to “bugs”....When one night, I opened a cabinet door and found a huge roach, I freaked out! Robert was at the Library studying, and so, being unable to slay the dammed bug, I stalked over to the Library, and whispered in his ear that I need him to come home and kill the cockroach.

He looked at me and said out in a very load voice..”you want me to come home and kill a cockroach”? The entire library community broke out in snickers, and rolled eyes were all focused on me, the sorry little wife who was afraid of bugs. I never lived that down, and neither did he...his Franklin buds ribbed him unmercifully....
Cj said…
Great Roach Stories, RJ! The one of Bob in the library is priceless! I can just picture it and hear him! Thank you!

And, yes, we had such an infestation at our place on lower Nob Hill--where I lived with Owen and Pam W. I would turn on the lights in the kitchen and I could hear them all scurrying inside the oven! When we complained to the landlord, he came over to the apt with a scary fumigator poison apparatus and proceeded to start spraying the apt with Pam and me there! When Pam yelled at him to stop it and get out, he wouldn't at first but then finally did after almost asphyxiating us! Later, he came over to complain to Owen about the 'hysterical women' he lived with, and Owen started yelling at him too. Hysterical Poet! It was quite a story! I guess Roaches inspire narrative! Who knew?

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