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MARRIAGE AND THE COCKROACH CAPER, PART 2
Disclaimer: (or is that disclosure?) Disclaimer: denial, repudiation. Disclosure: exposure, revelation. Maybe it's both, I'm meaning. It's this: we don't have cockroaches even though we live in Florida. We are clean people. We are nice people. I have never seen a cockroach in this house. I haven't seen a cockroach—a live, rushing-at-you-cockroach in, oh, years. Also, let the record stand that I don't normally scream and carry on. I'm a fairly calm, even-keeled person, dignified even, at times. Interpretation: I'm not given to screaming fits. Or any kind of fits. I even have a FAKE cockroach in my pantry, belly-up, to give an unsuspecting guest a little jolt so we can get a laugh out of it.
So I'm having a dinner party for six in our home. The whole works. Cut-your-own-cheese and crackers and a luscious punch for appetizers...Mozart and Beethoven wafting from the ceiling speakers. Yada, yada, yada. See Part 1 of "Marriage and the Cockroach Caper," my last post.
I'm standing at the peninsula overlooking the family room as I converse with my guests and slice fresh lime for our tea. It's then that I see "it"…
A cockroach as long as my index finger COMES FROM UNDER THE EDGE OF THE COUNTER ONTO THE COUNTERTOP WHERE I'M SLICING LIME AND THEN STARTS HIS RACE TOWARD ME.
I lose it. Totally.
HOW DO YOU TYPE A SCREAM?
I SCREAM BLOODY MURDER GUESTS OR NO GUESTS.
I grab the wet dishcloth and swipe the roach to the floor, thinking, I'm Cloroxing this dishcloth. Maybe I'll throw it in the garbage and never use it again.
The roach flies up.
I scream again.
Milton comes running.
The women guests on the sofa are laughing.
"Grab some paper towels," I yell.
The roach crawls along the countertop, up the wall, down the wall, back toward my lime slices but taking a detour behind the fruit basket then the coffee pot, all the while Milton and me doing a dance like you wouldn't believe, trying to get the thing as I spray a little Raid on the lower cabinet doors and he (Milton) lunges time and again, to no avail.
Only I'm letting out a shriek every now and then, my skin as prickly as a plucked chicken's, my heart racing as fear and shame sweep over me. I mean, here I am, ENTERTAINING, and we have a cockroach ON MY COUNTERTOP!
I just can't believe it.
This has never happened. Not even when we lived in that run-down old parsonage when we were newlyweds where the cockroaches were so big you could stand on 'em and ride 'em across the room. They never came out when I WAS ENTERTAINING. And equal to the trauma I'm now experiencing, I JUST HAD ANOTHER COCKROACH EXPERIENCE TWO NIGHTS BEFORE (see Part 3 tomorrow).
"It's not a cockroach," one guest says from the sofa. A man. "It's only a water bug."
He's not minimizing my concern, thank the Lord. He's talking Floridianeze. That's what we say when we see big cockroaches, that they're only water bugs, or Palmetto bugs. It helps diffuse our shame.
Other things we Floridians say about cockroaches are,
"All the rain's driving 'em in. That's why you're seeing 'em."
"It's so hot and dry, they're coming in looking for water."
Suddenly, the filthy vermin flies once more.
I scream. I mean, I am truly terrified.
With daggers shooting out of his eyes, Milton says, "Would – you – please – quit – screaming?"
I'm hurt to the core, that my man is not only NOT understanding what I'm going through, he's now fussing at me. I don't need fussing. I need comfort.
The prickly skin, remember.
The racing heart.
The shame in front of my guests, water bugs or cockroaches, whichever.
The secret fear of that disgusting slithery thing crawling on my skin.
But I react sweetly and smile instead of fussing back at Milton. (We have guests. WINK)
Milton finally gets the cockroach. That means he kills it.
I grab a clean dishcloth, run it under hot water and lots of dish soap, whisk around to the other side of the peninsular, scrub the entire surface, scrub the entire twelve feet of countertop where I was slicing limes, scrub it again, rinse it, rinse it again, deposit said cloth into garbage. Where the other dishcloth is.
Then I graciously serve my guests in the dining room.
After everyone leaves, I say sweetly (that means with no hardness in my voice), "You could've shown empathy to me tonight instead of getting angry."
"I wasn't angry."
"You didn't like it, how I reacted."
"You shouldn't have screamed," he says. "It was embarrassing."
"If you'd have expressed understanding and tenderness, it sure would've been nice. You could've used humor, laughed about it like Ann was doing, and it would've helped me."
"You should never have carried on like you did."
"Carried on? I WAS ENTERTAINING, STANDING THERE IN FRONT OF OUR GUESTS FIXING FOOD, AND A COCKROACH FLIES AT ME."
Well, we've been married long enough, and have studied enough marriage technique books, and have taught on marriage enough, that we were smart enough not to let this continue into a full-blown argument, like we sometimes did in our earlier years.
Instead, on issues like this, we now agree to disagree.
I thought he should've been more understanding.
He thought I shouldn't have done what I did.
We're both entitled to our opinions.
Part of the reason I was so traumatized by the COCKROACH COMING OUT WHILE I WAS ENTERTAINING was because of my OTHER cockroach caper…
Two nights before…
Disclaimer: (or is that disclosure?) Disclaimer: denial, repudiation. Disclosure: exposure, revelation. Maybe it's both, I'm meaning. It's this: we don't have cockroaches even though we live in Florida. We are clean people. We are nice people. I have never seen a cockroach in this house. I haven't seen a cockroach—a live, rushing-at-you-cockroach in, oh, years. Also, let the record stand that I don't normally scream and carry on. I'm a fairly calm, even-keeled person, dignified even, at times. Interpretation: I'm not given to screaming fits. Or any kind of fits. I even have a FAKE cockroach in my pantry, belly up, to give an unsuspecting guest a little jolt so we can get a laugh out of it.