Friday, June 27, 2014

I'm Such a Big Chicken

I hate changing my winter clothes for summer ones.  The entire process is exhausting: washing, folding, packing and moving them back to the attic. My winter items have been stacked on top of a bench at the foot of my bed, in some baskets on the floor beneath it, as well as in a large laundry basket and on two side chairs.

It’s the end of June, and it’s overdue for my lightweight shorts, shirts and capris.

When I change my clothes out, I mentally prepare for 8 or more hours of tedium.  An old movie I’ve seen a dozen times is the perfect backdrop to accomplish the task.  The dialogue will keep me company and memorable scenes break up the monotony.

First, the cats go out.  Otherwise, they rediscover the joys of empty baskets, and drawers left open.  They watch for soft sweaters to lie in and dangling strings on pants that will be pulled across the floor in a familiar game.

The baskets show imprints of fat cat bodies and lots of left-behind hair; it’s everywhere and nothing is spared.  Collect the hair and a new sweater would be produced.    

Sorting through a basket, I find an old, soft, yellow cotton nightgown that I can’t seem to throw out.  I picked it up and a huge dark roach appears underneath, attached.  I threw the gown on the floor and screamed like no other scream could be screamed, one that is immediately recognized by Scott as “my roach scream”. He makes a fast dash to the bedroom to encounter the monster.

I must stop here to explain that there are varying levels of happiness, excitement and terror that trigger physiological reactions; hysterical laughter, peeing in one’s pants and blood-curdling screams are just a few.   I suppose I have and still do exhibit all the fore mentioned reactions; if I held these in, I would explode, just as badly as if holding in a violent sneeze.
The roach scream generally comes when I’m in the kitchen preparing dinner or cleaning up, or anywhere near dog or cat food.  Since the cats eat in my en suite, my bedroom or bathroom is another surprise location. 

Since I was both a cheerleader and a singer in earlier years, I can project my voice to decibels equivalent to mach 1.  When I scream, I become paralyzed.  Sadly, the roach isn't adversely affected.  Scott is prompted to find the vacuum cleaner or a sturdy shoe to annihilate the beast, a job well suited for a retired Marine Colonel.

You may ask why a roach would instill such fear into a science educator whose passion in college was entomology.  I would have to say that it stems back to my childhood with a non-air-conditioned home, where the southern heat and humidity would allow the world’s largest vermin to enter.  They would make their way to the tops of the curtain rods and then fly across the room.  In actuality, they became kamikaze, dive-bombers, ultimately hitting their target, my head or face or other bodily parts with such precision that I knew the entire species made me a target.  

That deep psychological defect has tortured me for a lifetime.
All roaches, underneath that waxy calcareous exoskeleton, have a pair of wings, perfect for dive bombing.  Give me snakes, wild animals, or even an alligator to face before the villainous roach.  Not only do they fly, but are also nasty creatures, according to the Raid advertisements, carrying up to 32 diseases, so I have reason to hate these vile creatures.

Getting back to the dilemma at hand, Scott ran into the room and all I could do was point to the object.  He carefully picked up the nightgown by a corner and eased his way out the door and into the hallway, where he saw the massive object and immediately dropped the gown.  Then he began to dance on top of it, Flamenco style.  Convinced that the culprit was flattened, he opened the gown and began to laugh.  Peeking out the door, I saw him hold up the hideous thing, and I understood. 
It was a feather off one of the cat’s toys.    


That feather blew me away.


May all your days be filled with feathers. Email me at aitken.helen@gmail.com

Ta ta.

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