Schooled by cockroaches

By Kylin Zhang Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/6 18:33:39

After a month of battling with southern roaches, I finally admitted defeat.

I moved to Shenzhen from Beijing a few weeks ago and discovered that the insects here are enormous and relentless in their effort to occupy the earth. They are like nothing I've seen before. I've tried all kinds methods to battle them, bug spray, roach motels and traps without any luck. I am gradually coming to terms with the reality that I may never win.

I bought huge Tupperware boxes and sealed in all the spices, snacks and sauces in my kitchen, eliminating any chance cockroaches might have to crawl over them. Whenever I want to snack, I go through an elaborate process to get something to eat just to keep them at bay.

I also developed a habit of cleaning up after myself. After cooking, I immediately wash and put away the dishes. I no longer leave snacks lying around on the table after I finish eating and always remember to lock them away in jars and boxes.

I also stopped snacking in my bedroom or on the sofa. It used to be one of my favorite pastimes to lie on the sofa on a rainy day, drink a cup of hot cocoa and snack on a few cookies. But now, whenever I snack, I imagine hundreds of cockroaches spilling out from a hole in the wall and diving for the cookie. The thought completely kills my appetite.

I thought I had lost the battle to the bugs. They made me live in disgrace and inconvenience. I couldn't do any of my favorite things anymore.

Then yesterday, a high school friend came to visit me at my new home. Upon entering, she exclaimed that my apartment looked better than all the other ones I've lived in before. I said I hadn't noticed a difference.

"Are you kidding me?" she said. "There's no trash anywhere. The floors are immaculate, and everything is neatly categorized. I've never seen your place like this."

Then it suddenly occurred to me. The cockroaches helped me develop habits that my mom couldn't in more than 20 years. The army of insects forced me to keep everything neat and tidy. Once I formed the habit, the army disappeared. I've not seen a single cockroach since I stopped snacking.

I don't even know whether I should call them enemies or friends anymore.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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