Did you know cockroaches can fly? Because, seriously, I had no idea until I was attacked by two airborne monsters last night.
It was like something out of a horror movie. It was late at night and I was craving a snack before bed. I walked into the kitchen, flicked on the light and was just about to open the fridge when a giant cockroach ran up the wall about two feet from my face. I screamed and jumped backwards.
The cockroach raced wildly up and down the kitchen wall and then, horror of all horrors, it flew across the room and landed on the opposite wall. And then it raced wildly up and down that wall until it spread its wings again and launched itself directly at my head.
It was so terrifying and disgusting that I almost vomited. This was no ordinary cockroach. This was a huge cockroach. It was as long as my finger and as wide as a Snickers bar. And it was FLYING!
I slammed the kitchen door shut, trapping the cockroach inside, and ran screaming to my bedroom. But I was horrified to see a second giant cockroach racing wildly up and down the wall behind my bed. And then it spread its wings and flew across the room before disappearing behind a bookshelf.
At this point, I was close to fainting. I didn’t know what to do. I was too scared to hunt down the cockroaches and kill them because what if they flew at my head and got tangled up in my hair?
I was trapped inside my cockroach-infested apartment with no one to call and nowhere to go. I briefly considered taking refuge on the balcony but nixed the idea when I realized spending the night outside meant dealing with blood-thirsty mosquitoes, giant spiders, poisonous centipedes and that most horrifying creature of all, the geji geji (I would have provided a link but the mere thought of googling “geji geji” and having an image of one of those monstrosities pop up on my computer screen made me queasy).
So I did the only thing I could do. I laid on my bed, curled up in the fetal position, popped two Gravol and waited for sleep to take me far away from this awful reality.
It took a long time to fall asleep. I kept seeing imaginary cockroaches scurrying up the walls and running across the ceiling. Every shadow took on a menacing shape.
It hit me that I’ve spent a good part of the past year like this. Curled up in the fetal position, quaking in fear. I’ve been living in a near-constant state of paranoia. My eyes are always scanning the room for bugs. I always enter my apartment by slamming the door and stomping around, hoping the noise and vibrations will send the cockroaches into hiding before I have a chance to see them.
I do a thorough inspection of the bathroom every night before I have a shower. I slam the shower door open and shut a few times. I kick the tub. I shake out the towels. I can’t have a shower until I’m convinced it’s 100 percent cockroach-free.
I automatically jump back after opening the cabinet under the sink because this is one of the cockroaches’ favourite hiding places. Same goes for the stove.
I have half a dozen traps in my apartment but there’s really nothing I can do. Cockroaches, centipedes, spiders and geji geji are a fact of life in rural Japan. Especially in southern Japan.
I had almost gotten used to dealing with the cockroaches in my apartment. I wasn’t happy about it but I accepted their presence. But that was before I found out they can fly.