Like any sane member of society, I’m not exactly a huge fan of bugs. The small kinds, like ants, small spiders, and the like aren’t so bad, but my revulsion grows exponentially the bigger the bugs get. That’s not just because they’re scary as hell (don’t give me that crap about them being more scared of me than I am of them); the bigger they get, the more difficult it is for me to kill them. The squishing/crunching/expulsion of bug guts gets my skin crawling. I shivered now just thinking about it.
While I’m nowhere near having an full-blown phobia, if at all possible, I like to avoid creatures of the creepy-crawly sort. And for a year, I’d say I’ve had about a 99% success rate. I’d heard horror stories of some rural apartments being infested with centipedes (especially nasty varieties, complete with venomous bites and other traits associated with nightmares, inhabit Japan), so I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the prospect of going toe to toe with anything like that. Other than a lone beetle, though, which was swiftly dealt with by a blow from my iPad (Who knew it doubled as an extremely effective bug-smasher? Why has Apple not marketed this feature?!) and one or two tiny little spiders (Those, I can squish. I’m not totally useless at bug extermination), I hadn’t had any problems.
Until now. Enter, from stage left, the giant crickets. I came home late one night last week to find this guy waiting for me in my apartment entryway.
If any of my neighbors were awake, they were probably wondering what the weird foreign girl who lives on the first floor was shrieking about. I also almost stepped on him; cleaning bug guts off the bottom of my feet is something I like to avoid at all costs. Disclaimer: Yes, I know, crickets are harmless. However, this one got extra “ick” points for the unexpected appearance factor. I mean, that thing is pretty respectable in size. Plus, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of how it started scrabbling and throwing itself against the glass.
And regular – as in, not those of the giant mutant variety – crickets usually chirp, so at least you know they’re there and can locate them more easily. These guys are silent though. No chirping. So basically there could be a colony of ’em in my apartment…and I would have no idea about it. (That thought also literally just occurred to me, and now I’m wishing that it had never, ever surfaced.)
That picture also displays my primary way of dealing with bugs I can’t kill myself. Cover with glass. Wait until someone braver than me (at home, this would be my mum) comes along. Problem solved. Voilá! Unfortunately, as I now live alone, I had to gird up my loins and evict the thing myself. Consider another hurdle into adulthood cleared.
As I discovered yesterday, however, he invited a friend. Or was bound and determined to take up residence in my apartment. Not sure which option I like less.
Once again, he appeared quite stealthily, this time at three a.m. when I woke up to go to the bathroom. I’m pretty sure the only thing that kept me from screeching like a banshee was the fact that I was half asleep and therefore pretty calm. But like the big girl I am, I slid an envelope under the glass, carried it out to my balcony, and flung it out into the grass. I only just resisted the temptation to channel a crotchety old man and yell “And this time, stay out!” as I did so.
Now I’m just hoping that those are the last I’ll see of the giant mutant crickets. And yes, I know…Giant bugs? In Japan? Where there are nuclear reactors? What are the chances?!
Japan…land of the mutant crickets! Why hasn’t that been used as a tourism slogan yet?