Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Walkabout Wednesday... A Completely True, Totally Embarrassing Story About Me

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.
(I'm bringing along a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 36:

Let me begin with a disclaimer. Today's post has pretty much nothing to do with writing beyond the fact that yesterday, when I was supposed to be working on my current work in progress, I instead invested my time and energy into discussing flying cockroaches with Aubrey Mace. Hence, today's post:

A Really Embarrassing, Crazy Hilarious, Totally True Story About Sarah M. Eden

I lived the majority of my life in Arizona. There, we have many, many exotic creatures: gila monsters, scorpions, roadrunners. But the one that automatically summoned the gag reflex for me was, hands down, the flying cockroach:

Get where I'm coming from? Imagine that thing coming at your face.

So, here's where the story comes in. A few years ago, my mom and sister-in-law, Ashleigh, and I were hanging out at my parents' house while our husbands and my youngest brother were at an Arizona Diamondback's game. I have no memory of where my kids were during all this--a sign that I was truly traumatized by the events that unfolded.

We were sitting around the kitchen table chatting when out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a moth fly into the moving blades of the ceiling fan. Two inconsistency caught my attention: 1--When a moth flies into something it doesn't make a thunking sound like two rocks hitting each other. 2--When a moth flies into a ceiling fan, it doesn't keep flying as if nothing happened.

I looked more closely and realized that what I was seeing was not, in fact, a moth. It was a cockroach. The only words I managed to get out were. "Cockroach. Ceiling fan." And I pointed frantically. I knew the instant my mom and Ashleigh spotted the intruder, now calmly perched on a wall of the living room--they started screaming like little girls. Then I started screaming like a little girl.

Somewhere in the midst of our hysteria we realized we needed to do something about this roach-thing. The guys weren't due home for a couple more hours and there was no way we were going to coexist with a flying cockroach for that long. We tiptoed into the room--'cause sneaking up on the thing was, apparently, the wisest course of action. We got a few steps into the living room and the thing starts a mad dash up the wall.

The screams returned and we all ran out of the living room, through the kitchen and into the front room. My mother--who was only a few months away from a full hip replacement--promptly climbed up onto a chair. While Ashleigh and I completely understood this sort of nonsensical approach to avoiding cockroaches, we also knew that if we didn't rid the house of the roach, Mom would probably fall off the chair and need both hips replaced and possibly a few other joints of significance. We also instinctively surmised that she would be utterly useless in any scheme we concocted.

Let me clue you in on a little-known fact about roaches: they cannot be killed. At least not by normal means. My siblings and I discovered as children that a very large rock could kill a roach if you got at least a dozen solid hits in. We also found that, with closer to twenty whacks, a hammer could do the trick. Neither of these things were available to Ashleigh and I as we slowly made our way into the living room. And, death by blunt force trauma is not the best idea inside a house. It's messy and if you miss, either the walls or the wood floor are never going to be the same again.

So, we're moving toward the living room and spot the cockroach crawling across the ceiling. This is the point where I realized that the absolute most horrific scenario I could possibly imagine has just become alarmingly possible--likely, even. The thing could drop from the ceiling and land in my hair. In. My. Hair. There was no way on earth I was walking into that room and practically inviting a flying cockroach to use my head as an airstrip. Being the very logical person that I am, I devised a means of avoiding this problem: I put a dishtowel on my head. Because, let's face it, if the cockroach landed on a dishtowel on my head, I might eventually get over it. But if the thing landed in my hair, I would have to be permanently institutionalized.

Dishtowel in place, we moved slowly into the infestation room. (And by infestation I mean there was one very large, very mobile cockroach.) Ashleigh, who is a vast deal taller than I, had a fabulous idea: trap the roach in a very large mixing bowl, somehow get the bowl to the floor, then put really heavy stuff on the bowl so it is trapped until the guys get home and they can take care of the thing. Genius, right?!

We calculate the path the cockroach is taking and set up a chair against a wall. She will then stand on the chair and trap the roach in the bowl when it comes close. We waited. We moved the chair a few times. I re-secured my dishtowel. Finally the roach is within range. Ashleigh (while screaming) clamps the bowl over the roach. As I am about to cheer in victory, she drops the bowl, flies off the chair with a blood-curdling scream, and runs out of the room. I had
no idea what had happened, but I'm no dummy. I ran, too.

We reached the front room and Mom is screaming along with us. Things settled down enough for Ashleigh to explain what had happened. See, our idea about trapping the roach hit a snag. That's snag is better known as crown molding. The bowl couldn't sit flush against the wall because of the molding and that left just enough room for the roach to squeeze its way free. So she had stood there watching as the big ol' flying cockroach inched its way past her fingers.

At this point we're screaming again. To this day I am surprised none of the neighbors called the police. After a few more rounds of "Now what do we do?" Ashleigh and I decided we at least needed to figure out where the thing was--if nothing else we'd know we were safe in the dining room. I think Mom had gotten off the chair at this point.

We head back into the living room. We've more or less abandoned the bowl idea, especially since it was on the floor on the far side of the room. I double- and triple-checked my dishtowel as we slowly searched the walls. We couldn't find it anywhere!

Panic is starting to set in when Ashleigh spotted the roach crawling on the floor. And, of course, it is headed in our direction. Naturally, we screamed again. We did not, however, run away. We grabbed a quilt from the couch and dropped the blanket on top of the roach. Then we gathered up all the really heavy things we were going to put on the bowl and put them all around the edges of the quilt.

Let me explain the thought process behind this: The roach was under the blanket. If we put heavy stuff all around the edges, it would be stuck under the blanket. Perfect plan.

We grabbed everything we could and left not a single inch of the perimeter un-weighted-down. Feeling smart and safe once more we quit screaming and I took the towel off my head. We did not go back in the living room, though. We sat in the dining room and waited.

At this point almost an hour has passed. As if the heavens were smiling down on us, the guys came home early from the baseball game. In a flurry we explained what had happened. When we told them of our extremely intelligent means of trapping the roach, all of them rolled their eyes. My dad insisted it would not still be under the blanket. We knew he was wrong. We had secured that thing quite thoroughly.

The guys checked under the blanket. No roach. Dang.

They found it under the couch where it was most likely hiding from the weird ladies who kept screaming for no apparent reason. The guys accomplished in less than a minute what we had been attempting to do for nearly an hour.

The roach was gone. We were exhausted. And the guys would never think of our intelligence in the same way again.

The End.

PS--Come back for I Need Friends Friday when I will interview the ultra-fabulous, uber-mysterious LDS Publisher!

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Jon said...

You have got to warn us before you post a picture of a roach!!! Even reading the word reminds me of the one that went down my underware. I completely sympathise with you.

Angie said...

I have tears running down my cheeks from laughing so hard. Ew! I would not even be as brave as you. I would have fled the house.

Shantel said...

I totally feel you here. It was a contigancy on my marriage that Joel would not have to kill roaches. Niaeve girl that I am - and being from Utah - I agreed. Then I made it a contigency on no divorce that he had to start killing them for me. Do you know that they come back to life? You think they are gonners, and you go to get something to scoop up the carcass, and BAM! They are gone. They are from Satan. I just know it.

Kimberly said...

I'm feeling the weirdest mix of horror and amusement at the moment. Horror is TOTALLY winning out.

Josi said...

LOL, that is hilarious. My husband served his mission in the Philippines and paid a guy 100 pesos (about 5 cents) to eat one live. The elder did it and my husband about threw up. And these are the men entrusted to spread the good news of the gospel to the world!

mormonhermitmom said...

Remind me not to read your Walkabout Wednesdays while eating lunch.

Krista said...

Great and creepy story! I have no experience with roaches (thank heaven) but my husband would melt candle wax on the floor and they would get stuck, then he would melt more wax on the roach's back, and attach a firecracker. You can guess the rest. This was when he was on a mission in Peru. Uh, yeah.

Chas Hathaway said...

Ha, ha, ha! That reminds me of Botswana, where I served my mission. The cockroaches there were so big that I was sitting in my room one day, and I heard one walk into the room. We had a hard floor, and I could HEAR it walk in. I looked, and sure enough, there it was, staring at me - daring me to react to it.


I once heard that the cockroach is one of the few species of creatures on earth that hasn't needed to adapt at all since the age of the dinosaurs. No surprise here!


Cheri Chesley said...

Great story! Horrifying picture. When I saw it all I could think was that's on someone's hand!!!!

You reminded me of two stories about myself. In one, I forgot my own name. And in the other, a spider went down the front of my shirt. I think it's moments like that God gives us to remind us we aren't as cool as we think we are. :)

Heather said...

Creepy cockroach, but extremely funny story! :) It reminds me of how I might react; thankfully I've never ran into a cockroach, but if my reaction to mice is any indication, putting me in a room with a cockroach definitely wouldn't bode well.

Danielle Thorne said...

I wanted to scream just reading that. I've never seen anything like that down South. UGGGHHH! WINGS!!! I hate roaches!!!

Melanie J said...

Louisiana (where I grew up) has the most horrific flying cockroaches on the planet. One night my scalp itched and I reached up to scratch only to pull out a huge flying cockroach. I wasn't safe even on the top bunk! I had a major freak out and 25 years later, I'm still scarred. Grosssssss!

Annette Lyon said...

Holy laughing session!

(Aren't you glad you live in UTAH now? No more freaky flying cockroaches!)


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