I woke up last night to a slight stinging sensation right about in the center of my back. I then felt the unmistakable, almost not there—but definitely there—feeling of tiny legs crawling slowly on my skin.
I live in Australia now, as you may have noticed from the title of this blog and whatnot.
When you get bit by something in Australia, there are significantly higher odds than would be in any other place in the world that the thing that just bit you is either a) harmful; b) really, really harmful; or c) you won't even meet the EMTs—and the hospital's next door!—harmful.
Okay, still, it's probably not a deadly spider. It could be a—well, look, I'm lying here in bed and have just been bitten by something that's still on my back. Could we discuss this later? Okay? Good.
I thought that, under the circumstances, rather than burst out of bed flailing my arms and legs and sending the sheets flying and scaring the crap out of Christine—all of which did occur to me—it might be best to identify whatever had just bitten me. So it could be noted properly in the obituary and all. Luckily Christine is a very light sleeper. I quietly muttered, "Christine," and she immediately said, "What?"
"Turn the light on."
She started to move toward me…and whatever was on my back.
"No! No! No! Turn the light on please."
You know how you say "please" in situations like this? It doesn't mean "please" at all, it's just a lot faster to say please than saying all the other things you'd really like to say.
Christine moved away from me and got off the bed. We still don't have bedside lamps, so she found her glasses, stumbled to the door, found the switch, turned on the light, and headed back to the bed.
"What's on my back?"
"Oh shit, a cockroach."
Oh for chrissake. There I was, bravely lying still while the most deadly creature on eight legs steadily made its way toward my jugular vein to deliver its final, lethal, bite—and it's a cockroach. How ignoble.
The next minute or so consisted of:
• exiting bed
• exiting cockroach from bed with a flick of the wrist
• watching cockroach land high up on the curtains
• watching Christine search floor for cockroach, shoe in hand
• sitting on bed, pondering not telling Christine that cockroach is in the curtains and going back to sleep
• finally flicking the cockroach off the curtains and onto floor
• watching Christine…a little too eagerly…smash cockroach to pudding
• way to eagerly
• going back to bed.
Well, it could have been deadly. There is no sign of a bite this morning. Perhaps it just gave me a nip.
A final note:
According to Stoy Hedges, an entomologist and Manager of Technical Services at Terminix International, "They [cockroaches] have been known to bite but only in rare circumstances, when they have exploded into large populations. They are known to crawl onto people's ears, bite off their eyebrows and things like that. They are looking for food, but that's when they are in large populations. They only do this when there is no food available."