Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bichos in my bedroom ...

Been back a couple of weeks now. The heat still hasn’t let up. After the greeny fresh air of Ireland, the grit and dust and humidity is particularly hard to bear. The locals are feeling it too; people are starting to fray at the edges, tempers simmer, the elderly moan about whether or not to use the air conditioning, fa male, they conclude, and turn it off to lean listlessly in their doorways, hoping for a gust of wind to reach them.

It’s the perfect clime for bichos of all sorts, and Via Montecastro has seen its fair share lately. On our first night back I hear shuffling; the merest hint of a noise, like paper being crumpled quietly – and nearly step on the cockroach as I enter the bathroom. A 2am chase after the scarafaggio ensues. I manage to daze it with spray then almost finish it off with a good whack from a brrom – but it is still alive enough to slither into the dustpan. I keep the lid on it until I get outside and shake it over the side of the terrace. But is that still more shuffling I can hear when I go back to bed? Oh yes. As if that’s not bad enough, the following night I wake with one on my pillow – a mere 10cm from my sleeping bambino’s head. Its antennae quiver at me, its beady eyes ogle. It’s HUGE, and red brown, so I know it’ll be camouflaged once it hits the floor. It doesn’t move as I shift bambino into his cot; luckily he doesn’t wake up during the hunt. This time it is more difficult. Who wants to cover their pillow with cockroach spray, or bang it with a dust-ridden broom? Desperate times: I spray anyway and the loathsome creature scuttles away into some dark corner of the room. I get my glasses, turn on more lights, keeping one eye on bambino to see if he stirs. Tricky: you don’t want to get too close to the creature, but you do have to discover which dark recesses are hiding it. So I’m down on my hands and knees poking with the brush, spraying under chests of drawers. It flits from one hiding place to the next, immune to my deadly spray – I then have to open the window to avoid intoxicating myself and bambino. But I get it with the broom in the hallway. Gross. I sweep the squishy mess into the pan and out to the terrace with it quick as I can. How hard is to sleep after that? Any more friends in the dark?

My neighbour, always the optimist, tells us how she missed my walking the bambino up and down the street (merely a pleasant preliminary), before launching into the details of her recent encounters with rats. On our street. One came right across our rooftop and into her house, apparently. Another was discovered by a little boy, under her chair. Sounds like a joke; ‘Scusi, signora, there’s a rat under your chair!’ She wasn’t able to move, so mio suocero came to the rescue; one nifty clout with his foot finished it off.

Mosquitoes are in their element.

All in all, I’m just delighted to be back.

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