Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I've never considered myself a shrinking violet. I'm not afraid of snakes. Mice don't bother me; in fact just last week I spent several days feeding an orphaned baby mouse every two hours through an eyedropper until I could get the poor little thing to a wildlife rehabilitation center. I don't like spiders, but I'll kill them if necessary. And while I have been known to play the "girl card" to get a nearby man to kill an insect, it's much more because I don't want to do it than that I can't. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of it myself if necessary.

All of this is with one exception. I hate crickets, and they freak me out to an extreme degree.

This is unfortunate, as the house I live in is cursed with an overabundance of both regular field crickets, and the camel variety. (Click on the link, look at the picture, shudder uncontrollably, and return. I'll wait.)

I don't know for certain where this dread/fear/hatred of crickets come from, but I have a theory. When I was about four or five years old, my family went on vacation down to Ocean City. We rented a house known as the Honeymooner's Cottage (and why it was named that when it had at least three bedrooms is beyond me) which was absolutely infested with crickets.

I have very clear memories of some parts of the trip--the layout of the house, and a specific incident when my mother called Dad to come kill a cricket. I went charging up the stairs, acting all tough, to "help" her--then promptly screamed and ran away when I first saw the damn thing. My poor father probably didn't get any rest the whole trip, what with running to and fro to kill crickets.

Other memories of the trip are less clear--I don't remember going to the beach, though I'm sure we must have. And I have a fairly hazy memory of an incident in which I was tucked into a bed that had a cricket in it. My memory of this is unclear enough that I may have just heard about it, or I may have even made it up--my memory does things like that sometimes--but that half-memory still provokes feelings of horror.

"But wait!" those of you who have known me for a long time may be saying. "You used to have frogs as pets, and you fed them crickets!" Well, yes. But when your pet tree frogs can sit on your thumbnail without spilling over, you're feeding them teeny little crickets. On one occasion, there was a cricket who evaded being eaten long enough to get to an impressive size; when it became less likely that the frog would eat the cricket than vice versa, I disposed of it--and it was still half the size of a normal cricket you'd see outside.

So all of this brings me to last night. I moved a blanket, and a cricket jumped out. I promptly freaked out. Then it jumped under my bed. I freaked out some more, because I was alone, and I was either going to have to kill the thing or go to sleep with it still in the room. Once upon a time I had a cat who would take care of all cricket-related disposal, leaving me just a leg or two to alert me that the little fucker had ever been there at all. But no more--Millie lives with Tracy now, and Spats is old and somewhat decrepit and recovering from surgery, and my enthusiastic attempts to get her involved in the cricket issue resulted in her stretching, rolling over, and going back to sleep.

So, I talked myself off the ledge, called O. for moral support, and went cricket hunting. No dice. After O. assured me that the cricket couldn't climb into my bed (I don't know if he was lying to me, and I don't want to know) I decided that I was just going to have to live with the fact that a cricket was in my bedroom. I calmed down, looked carefully every time I set my feet on the floor, and distracted myself with a good disaster movie. (Which also freaked me out. I was not in a good place last night.)

But then.

I moved something else that was lying on the floor, and a completely different cricket came jumping out. I knew it was completely different because this one was a camel cricket. *shudder* I had almost convinced myself that I could live with this one too, when the fucker started climbing the wall. That would not do.

So, long story short (I know, too late) I employed my patented insect-killing method (trap, carry, flush) with reasonable success but extreme stress. The fuckers are dead, but there are many more to take their place. I may have to move.

No comments: