How do roaches manage to get inside my car and do I even want to know?

21 07 2011

It was a nice evening out on the town with my parents and grandmother. Our Italian dinner was delicious, the conversations enlightening, the evening was filled with smiles and laughter and I left for home with an extremely stuffed belly.

The 45-minute drive home started off nice. It’s later in the evening so there wasn’t much traffic on the road and the red lights don’t seem to hate me like they usually do.

I drove down some back roads to get to the interstate entrance and felt hypnotized a little by the street lamps as I passed them. The light came into my car to tease me before abandoning me into darkness, only to come back again when I passed another lamp. This continues as I peacefully make my way towards home.

During one of the street lamp teases, something on my dashboard caught my eye. As I looked closer the light inside my car disappeared and I couldn’t see anything in the darkness.

Something had gotten wedged between the front windshield and the end of the dashboard. I had planned to use the light from the next lamp I passed to look in the same spot on the dashboard to figure out what I saw.

Was it a parking garage ticket? Or was it a ticket stub from the Arepas food truck? Or maybe my roommate’s niece put one of her arts & crafts cutouts up there again?

I was approaching the lamp and eagerly waited for the light to illuminate my car glancing back and forth from the road to the spot I thought I had seen something. The light came and my suspicions were confirmed. Between the edge of the dashboard and the windshield was a two to three-inch long cockroach.

I’m not afraid of roaches. I don’t understand how they came to be and why they are here (where their spot in the food chain is or what actually eats them). Do they even have any nutritional value?

Then I was trying to figure out how this big insect even got inside my car in the first place. Each time I passed a lamp I would get a better look at it. It’s beady eyes were looking right back at me too!

I was okay with the roach being there at first. I wasn’t thrilled but I was okay.

Then it began to move it’s long flaky brown skeleton body slowly across the dashboard, usually during the dark periods when I couldn’t see that well. The light rings around its eyes made it look like it was examining me through a pair of glasses. The antennas twitched to find a sense of direction.

It was moving towards the passenger side of the car but during an illuminating moment turned around and at a faster pace used its 6 hairy legs to crawl towards the driver’s side door. Again I’m not afraid of roaches but they still creep me out. Already I’m swerving out of my lane to keep an eye on this thing and anticipating a launch attack since I’ve seen these things fly before.

At this moment I’m really hoping to catch a red light but unlike every other time I’m out driving they seem to be timed out perfectly for me to continue non-stop on my journey home. Then, my wish came true. It was the last stop light before the entrance to the interstate.

The roach had crept his way onto the door handle so I wasn’t sure how to open the door. He was too low for me to try to flick him out the window. When he crawled past the handle, I knew I was going to have only one shot at this.

I jumped at the chance to open the door. As wide as I could! I desperately searched for something to use to fling him off the door grabbing the closest thing I had to me, my cool new hat I wear everywhere. A brief pause was made before using it but it was all I had so I pushed on. Swiftly I swatted the hat at the roach.

Nothing. He held on to the door with his sticky, hairy legs and was not going to jump ship anytime soon. And I’m not sure but he looked a little pissed at me for making such an attempt on his life.

The stoplight turned green. I’m at this intersection with my door wide open and this huge roach hanging on with all of his might. I didn’t care that people had come up behind me or that I was stopped at a green light now. I missed my first shot but I could not miss my second.

I swatted at him again.

This time I knocked him down, trying not to kill him but simply set him free in the middle of a three-lane road. I know I struck the roach. I saw him fall off the door. But I didn’t see where he landed.

I quickly closed the door and proceeded through the light and onto the interstate like nothing had happened. Because I didn’t actually see the roach fall out of the car and onto the road, I knew in the back of my mind there was a chance that he may have fallen back inside the car.

It was dark once again and there was no sign of the roach anymore. Nobody was harmed in this invasion of privacy but the scars are still there. And because there wasn’t concrete proof that this roach made it out of the car I must live with the realization that this battle is not yet over.




4 responses

31 08 2011

This left me with goosebumps. As a grad student in Austin always renting a dumpy duplex converted from a 1930s bungalow, I had my fair share of creepy run-ins with roaches in my house — and the houses of friends. I admire your courage, not being afraid of them. I know there is nothing rational behind it — and I’m not scared of almost anything else — but large, erratically moving bugs just freak me out. A lot. Roaches, cicadas, large moths — I hate them all. Even butterflies sometimes give me the willies.

I will be interested to hear where this goes and whether you have any other run-ins. Hopefully Mr Roach found his way across that road and into a ditch, and he didn’t leave any friends behind.

8 03 2012
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