Thursday, January 26, 2006

La Cucaracha

The other day I had a very unwelcome visitor in the lab. I come strolling into the lab bright and early and what do I see staring back at me? That's right, a cockroach!!! I seriously considered turning around and walking right back out of the lab and calling it a day. But I had things to do and figured I'm not going to let a cockroach stop me. The cockroach was huge too. Ick. There used to be quite a bad cockroach problem in our building a few years ago but once they cracked down on the problem I haven't seen any for a few years. They even had the cockroach police at one time who you were supposed to report sightings to and we were instructed to kill the cockroaches upon contact. I left the killing up to the men in the lab. Well that was a few years ago and now the lab consists of me and another woman. She wasn't in yet for the day so it was just me and the cockroach all alone. Although even if she was in she probably would have ran away from it faster than I did.

So plan A in the battle of me versus the cockroach was a passive one - just leave it alone. It was on the other side of the lab so I figured as long as it stayed there we would both be happy. As I worked at my desk my mind started to wander. What if I go check on the cockroach and it's not there and I don't know where it is? What if it climbs up my pants? What if it sits on my chair and I end up sitting on it. What if it somehow lands on my head? What if, what if, what if?!?! That was it... time for plan B.

Plan B involved devising a plan to somehow capture the cockroach in something and then seal the container well and toss it in the garbage can. I couldn't find anything large enough that would allow me some distance from the cockroach so that plan was axed. They move so freaking fast and I'm sure I would scream bloody murder if it crawled on me. A few years ago I caught a bat in a pot and released it back outside and yet I was more scared of catching the cockroach than I was of catching the bat. So plan C...

Plan C involved briefly thinking about stomping on it. However that awful crunch sound and the fact that I would have cockroach bits on my shoe axed that plan. Then I thought that a textbook would do the trick. Too bad we didn't have any old crappy textbooks in the lab.

So it all came down to plan D. Plan D was to douse the cockroach in ethanol. This plan allowed me ample distance from the cockroach and I didn't have to touch it or worry that it will crawl on me. Armed with my squirt bottle full of ethanol I proceeded into battle. As I squirted him with ethanol he ran (of course) and thankfully away from me. Being as fast as they are I lost track of where he went. Then I see him coming towards me. Eeek. I jump on a nearby stool and squirt the ethanol like a crazy woman. By the end of the battle the aisle is covered in ethanol and so are the cupboards and the cockroach is sitting in the corner. He wasn't really moving so I figured plan D was successful. There was no way I was going to touch it or move it so as far as I know it's still in the corner. Hopefully it's cockroach friends don't retaliate.

At the beginning of my battle with the cockroach I was wishing someone else was in the lab to help me with the battle or even to kill the cockroach for me. However at the end of the battle with me standing on a stool grasping my squirt bottle and looking down on the pool of ethanol on the floor and towering over the little cockroach I felt a bit silly. I figured if anyone walked in at that exact moment they would have surely thought I lost it. For now the lab is safe... until the next invasion.

1 comment:

ScienceWoman said...

We had a big cockroach problem in my freshman dorm. After experimenting with bug spray I gave up because of the running away that you described and the nasty chemicals (didn't have any ethanol around!). I found I was most successful with dropping my bio book on the poor buggers. Quick, effective, and oddly satisfying.