Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Key West

I meant to post about something else entirely today (teaching myself to sew), but first I need to iron the things I've sewn so I can take non-shitty pictures of them, and ironing sucks, and it's hot outside, and no one wants to slave over a hot iron when it's hot outside, so I'll try to get it done later tonight, and oh, hell, I guess I can always tell a really embarrassing story instead of posting something useful or educational...

Here goes nothing.

Paul and I drove out the Keys a few years ago for summer vacation. We stayed in Marathon Key because it was cheaper than staying in Key West. We booked a beautiful little cottage-style room for two nights. Once we got there, one of the first things we noticed about Florida, and southern Florida in particular, is the fact that it has bugs. Bugs the size of small children.

I hate bugs the way Indiana Jones hates snakes.  I hate spiders most of all, but really, my hatred extends to any bugs that can crawl into places I might find them. One time, on choir tour senior year, a cricket flew out of my backpack in New Mexico and I almost fainted.  True story.

So. Marathon Key. We check into our room and prepare to relax. It's nighttime and we've already driven from Hollywood, and all we want is to chill out and get a good night's sleep. Paul goes to take a shower.  But first he has to kill the shower's other inhabitant, an enormous palmetto bug.  That sucker was as thick as a carrot and as long as my pinkie finger (I have really long fingers, people).  It hissed at us.  Paul smashed it with his shoe, but some of the guts stuck to the floor.  Really gross. I tried not to look at the wing remnants as I took my own shower.

Afterward, I put my pajamas and flip-flops on and padded over to the bed.  Suddenly, I heard another hissing noise--the exact same noise that freaking bug made before Paul slapped it upside the head with his Vans.  All I could think was that another bug was somewhere in the room, probably near the bed.

I jumped onto the bed and screeched, "There's another one!  I heard it!"  Panicked, I scanned the room for a crawling insect the size of a mini-golf scoring pencil.  I didn't see anything, but I knew what I'd heard.  Paul made a more thorough investigation.  He lifted up the tiny refrigerator, looked under the bed, and moved the nightstands.  He didn't find anything.

Still wary, I decided to put my feet on terra firma.  I put one foot down on the floor and instantly heard the hissing again.  I shrieked, swore, and jumped back up on the bed.  "You heard that, too, right?" I asked.  Oh, yes, Paul had heard it, too.

He redoubled his efforts and checked even more dark corners of the room.  I started freaking out.  How can I sleep in a room where there's a giant roach waiting to share the bed?  I told Paul what I was afraid of, and he said he'd check the bed sheets if I'd get off it.  That meant touching the floor, which I wasn't happy about at all.  Those fuckers moved fast, and if I felt those tiny bug feet crawling over mine, I knew I'd flip out.  For sanity's sake, it seemed safer for me to stay on the bed.

But my husband's sanity prevailed over mine and I got down off the bed.  Slowly, one foot at a time, I came back down to earth.  But as soon as I took one step away from the bed, I heard it.  That prehistoric shitbird was hissing at me again!  The gall!

I ran over to the single chair in the room and jumped up on it.  Then the bastard hissed again!  It would have been funny if I weren't sure it was looking for a way to tunnel into my suitcase for maximum heart-attack impact the next morning.  While I stood like a demented flamingo on a rickety metal chair, Paul duly took apart the bed, pushing the mattress off the box spring and de-sheeting it.  He looked everywhere.  He looked under the bed, again.  He checked inside our suitcases.  He checked the bathroom.  There was no bug to be found.

"But I can hear it!" I whined.  "It's here somewhere!  We have to find it."

But where else could we look?  Paul had already exhausted pretty much every hiding place the small room offered.  He fixed the bed and then sat down on it.  "Come on," he said.  "Let's just watch some TV and try to relax."

Now, relaxing when there's a Jurassic Park-sized bug on the loose is not in my DNA.  But I tried.  Because it was Paul's vacation and not just mine, I tried.  I got down off the chair...and damned if that bug didn't hiss at me again!  This was too much.  I had never been targeted so fiercely by a roach before.

That's what made me wonder.  How could the fucker know exactly where I was and what I was doing?  Was it Superbug?  Did it have eyes in the back of its head?  If it did, I had to catch it and sell it to scientists and retire to Key West permanently.

I took one step forward.  The bug hissed again.  Was I getting warmer?

I stepped again.  Another hiss.  What the hell was going on here?

Then I figured it out.  The bug only hissed when my feet touched the floor.  It only made noise when I stepped toward it.  One more test confirmed my theory:  I was, in fact, "wearing" the bug.

The hissing noise was apparently some defect in my Old Navy flip-flops.  Brand new and unworn until that day, they apparently made evil hissing bug noises when they were wet and then stepped on.

The moral of the story:
*Florida is full of bugs.
*Old Navy flip flops make evil hissing bug noises when they're wet.    
*It is absolutely essential to marry a man who understands your fear of bugs.