Managing your first a apartment is a constant learning experience. I, for example, just learned what mouse poop looks like. My boyfriend, who grew up in the country, pointed it out. “Are you sure those aren’t just really stale Rice Krispies?” I asked, crossing my fingers. I’m not bigoted, but I hate varmints. “Don’t worry,” said my boyfriend. “Mice are really cute. Not like those nasty cockroaches you’ve got.”
I’d managed to scuttle all the way through childhood without running into a real live roach. They were a novelty, a big-screen horror similar to velociraptors- sure, they were scary, and sure, once upon a time they were somebody’s problem, but not mine.
Imagine my consternation my first night out on the streets of Los Angeles. Roaches are nocturnal, and when the lights go down in the city they swarm like teenage girls who’ve spotted Johnny Depp. I screamed loud enough to break those girls’ eardrums. To this day, I won’t wear open toe shoes out after dark.
Cockroaches are inexplicably hardy little buggers- their radiation tolerance is so high that they would survive a nuclear war if it came down to it. In a big cities and warmer climates, it’s hard to avoid some contact with them. But you can keep your slop-loving house guests to a minimum if you follow a few basic precautions. For starters, keep all food and garbage tightly sealed. Any food products left uncovered will attract bugs and other critters. If you do find yourself in the middle of an infestation, give your kitchen and bathroom a thorough cleaning, then tape off any suspicious cracks or crevices that may allow roaches an entrance. Get some roach traps, which lure roaches in with poisoned bait, which the roaches consume then spread back to their roach hidey hole, killing themselves and hopefully some of their roach family as well. And spray every suspicious surface that you don’t prep or eat food on with Raid. Let your landlord know, and if the invasion is bad enough, you may have to call a professional exterminator.
Whatever you do, don’t panic. Although they’re nasty, roaches can’t do you any bodily harm. Unless you strain your vocal cords from the screaming. As for the psychic pain? I believe there’s nothing more satisfying, retributionally speaking, than successfully whacking a roach with your shoe. Happy hunting.