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Crawling the baseboards of my mind - Rob Felt

At the break of early morning, the sight of an up-turned roach in a cereal bowl requires more than I am made of.

There it was, on its back with its nasty little legs kicking the last life of night as dawn spilled through the window. The bowl had a splash of water in it, and that oasis was surely the lure that drew the creature from whence it came.

Drawing the bowl up from the sink slowly, I carried it at arm's length to the bathroom, where I dumped its contents into the toilet. Watching vindictively, I flushed the demon down and was transfixed by its protestations and wriggling.

The act of execution left me feeling no better.

Walking back to the kitchen, I scanned the floor for further signs of intrusion, and that's when it really came to me. Our environs are filled with cracks, holes and crevices that offer open transport to any enterprising insect.

The thought is maddening.

Entomophobia is the fear of insects, but roaches lack their own specific phobia unlike the legendary spiders. Those spiders can be lauded for the amazing construction of their webs, marveled at for the beauty of their creation and the function of its form. Roaches have no such redeemable qualities. Their indestructible bodies only add to the fear they generate without giving anything close to an enduring quality.

The technical term for those that invade our living spaces is peridomestic, meaning that they live indoors sometimes and outdoors the rest. Try as we may, keeping these pests outside full-time seems impossible. Roaches can fit through a 1/16-inch crack in a baseboard or wall outlet, so the very idea of caulking every crack in your living space would lead to an obsessive-compulsive disorder in addition to the entomophobia you already have.

Flip on the lights at the wrong moment during the night and you'll have trouble getting back to sleep. I'm beginning to accept this as a fact of life.

Self-diagnosing a neurosis, I've come to accept my lot as a ground-scanner.

Maybe someday I'll be as blind as Mr. Magoo, and I won't have this problem. I'll happily stumble through the house at night, without giving a thought to what might be lurking along the baseboards or behind the water heater.

Down low, in the world of the light-sensitive wall-walkers, they wait for this. They wait for time to force my guard down, for the trusty trigger finger that wraps around the Raid can to loosen its grip. They crawl and mate and slither in the walls, trying to wake me from my sleep with the clicking of a thousand tiny legs.

Call me paranoid, because I am. I'm far more afraid of them than I am of you.

Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or rfelt@henryherald.com .