Let me tell you about my recent adventure. It involved my grandma, a cockroach, and me flipping out. Because I’ve been living in the South for almost 10 years and I’m only slightly more adept at killing cockroaches than I was when I moved here.
So, sometimes I am hit with this overwhelming need to talk to my Gram. I call myself her stalker because I call her 3-5 times per week out of habit. The other day, after we had talked two days in a row, we were on the phone for about five minutes talking about fairly mundane things when she said, “Okay, sweetie, do you have anything interesting to say?” 🙂 We were talking about her new-found aversion to peanut butter and how she now eats cashew butter, and this was just too drab for her conversational liking.
Tonight was different, though. I had a gut feeling that said, “Call Gram.” So I did. And I’m so glad I did.
About 15 minutes into our call, I walked into my office and saw a stinkin’ cockroach sitting on my desk. I hate cockroaches. There are so few physical things in this world for which I hold hate in my heart. Cockroaches are at the very, very top of this list. A nasty cuss word usually flies from my mouth the moment I see one. Sometimes I cry. I always freak out. Last time, I stalked over to my shoe bag, got my sneaker, yelled, “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!” and unashamedly killed the son-of-a-gun. I *loathe* these ever-present-in-my-sweet-South creatures.
My grandma knows this. About seven years ago, one of my best critter friends crawled into my sweatpants and up my leg! I screamed, shot the pants off me, and called Gram. Because I wanted someone on the phone with me when I killed it. Irrational, yes. But this made me feel not so alone. Greg was deployed.
Back to tonight. For ten minutes, my sweet, patient Gram stuck with me while we figured out where the dang thing went, how I should go about killing it, and if I didn’t kill it, where I should sleep (she suggested in the car). This was our adventure:
“AHHH!! WAIT A MINUTE! WAIT A MINUTE!” I had cut her off in the middle of her talking about… something. I don’t remember now.
“What is it, honey?”
“A COCKROACH! GRAM!!! AHHHH! I HATE THEM! I HATE THEM!” I was suddenly very, very angry. I stalked over to get my sneaker. Seriously, I stalked. And yes, all caps because, yes, I was yelling.
“Oh!! Get a shoe! Do you have something to kill it with?” I could tell she was nervous for me, but I was thankful to have her voice! Greg is lucky enough to never be around when these things make their appearance. This is why the world needs Grams.
I walked back into the office but couldn’t find the cockroach. I looked high and low, shook the desk to get it moving, tapped the object where it was last seen. Nothing. For a solid seven minutes I looked up, down, all around, terrified – yes, terrified – of this ugly black thing that I was certain was going to later show up in my bedroom, terrorizing my sleep.
“I don’t know what to do! I won’t be able to sleep with this thing in my house! What am I going to do?!” I was still angry, but now I was refusing to let it go. It would die before the night was over.
“Oh, sweetie… You don’t see it anywhere? Where did it go? I’d get the hell out of there. I’d sleep in my car! This is why I could never live in the South.” She went on to tell me that she never steps in Florida grass, she grew up with cockroaches so she knows how I feel, and maybe it went into the bathroom because they like the wet, moist areas.
“UGHHH!” I couldn’t see it. It was blending in with something but I had no idea what. Then,”OH! OH! Gram!! IT’S IN THE STAPLER!”
“In the stapler! It is literally sitting inside the stapler! What should I do?” My momentary nemesis was sitting in the space between the base of the stapler and the element that holds the staples. It wasn’t moving, obviously knowing it was about to meet its end.
“Slam the stapler! Crush it!!” She was very excited. So was I. It was quite the moment.
“Okay, I’m gonna slam the stapler as hard as I can. Okay, here I go. Here I go.”
“You can do it!” She’s probably wearing her green silk pajamas, and I’m pretty sure she was sitting on her pink recliner. At this point she probably had put her feet down and had her free hand on her head, wondering when this was going to all be okay.
And, nowhere to be seen. I hurt my pinkie for nothing. Nothing. Wasn’t crushed in the stapler, didn’t splatter onto the desk, nothing. Had no idea where it went.
“What the heck, Gram?”
“Well, look around. You don’t see it–”
“Oh! It’s on the corner of my desk! I see it! But I can’t get to it! I’ll break my printer.”
“Honey, you’re not going to let this little thing win. You got it. C’mon. Kill it.” I’m sorry, Gram, for raising your blood pressure. But thank you for the encouragement!
“Okay, let me just, umph, move my entire desk around.” I unplugged and moved the printer onto the floor, but did so very gently so as to not disturb my opponent. Who knew, by the way, that he was at war with me and a sneaker about 50 times his size.
“Okay, I’m ready,” I said.
“Okay, just slam it. Kill it.” She was ready. So was I.
WHACK. Cue cockroach lying belly up, under my computer cords. Dead. Hallelujah.
Never mind that for the last 15 minutes I’ve been “seeing” cockroaches all over my office, at least that one is dead and Gram and I have yet another adventure under our belts.
“Oh! I’m so glad you killed it! I don’t think I would have slept!” She wouldn’t have been able to sleep, because her granddaughter 700 miles away had a cockroach in her apartment. That’s how much she loves her grandchildren.
“That was an adventure, Gram. Thanks for staying on the phone with me! I hope I’m like you when I’m a grandma.” She laughed, but she knows I mean it.
Call me immature, call me a baby, call me whatever you want, for being *almost* 30 years old and not only freaking out over a cockroach in my home, but wanting my Gram to stay on the phone with me while I work up the nerve to kill it. But before you judge, think of what you’re afraid of. Think of your bogart, and think of how you’ll do whatever you’ve got to do to not let it paralyze you, to not let it win. Eight years ago, I cried hysterically and had to have a friend drive to my house and kill a cockroach. Granted, it was a palmetto bug (flying cockroach) and it was right before Greg deployed so I was a little sensitive, but still. I’ve come a long way.
Tonight I posted this as my FB status:
When your heart tells you to do something, go do it. Whether it’s trying a new career, starting a project, or loving someone others deem unworthy.
Maybe you’ll get an immediate reward, maybe confirmation will come 10 years down the road. Maybe people will support you, but maybe people will tell you you’re crazy.
It doesn’t matter. It’s your heart. Your life. Your heart. Your life. You have to live with you and your choices. When your heart tells you to do something, do it. You won’t be sorry.
My heart (or gut or intuition or whatever you want to call it) told me to call Gram tonight. And could I have killed that cockroach without her on the other end of the line? Of course. I’m afraid of them, and I freak out, but I am not paralyzed by the fear as I once was. But having her there is something I will always, always remember. And it gave her quite the laugh. I called it an adventure, and I could feel her heart smiling.
(And thank you for not judging my fears. I promise not to judge yours should you ever choose to share them with me.) 🙂