Salty Stories

Let The Creatures Take Me.

I don’t do creatures. You’re probably wondering, what are creatures? Oh wow, great question, thanks for asking! This is my all-encompassing term to describe anything that creeps me out and thus should not be allowed in my vicinity, let alone sharing a home with me. In middle school one of my friends told me that you’re always within three feet of a spider while we were camping out in her backyard and I almost didn’t walk in the grass back to her house for fear of how many spiders my feet would come in contact with in the grass. I would’ve become a permanent resident of that tent just to avoid being NEAR a spider. There have been multiple incidents since then where I have considered torching my car upon finding webs INSIDE the vehicle but the culprit was missing. It’s like it couldn’t help spinning that home with it’s butt and then going into hiding, knowing what a psychological mind fuck it is for me to find a new cob web every time I go to drive somewhere but the architect was still at large. In fact, now that I really stop and think about it, I’ve been taunted by creatures my whole life.

There was a very significant stink bug phase of my adult life where every apartment that I lived in had an infestation of stink bugs during peak season and I just had to fight them off as they took over my home, knowing that if I squashed them, they would FURTHER punish me AFTER THEY HAVE PASSED by releasing their stink into the atmosphere. And that’s not even my biggest complaint about stink bugs because a little bit of smell is overshadowed by the comfort of knowing they are done haunting me. My biggest issue with them is that they fly. WHY OH WHY did we let these insects grow wings? If they were just stationary bugs I would have no issue stomping on them, but instead they turn into freaking pterodactyls and buzz all over the joint making them ten times more terrifying. The first time I learned that they can take to the sky was in my first solo apartment. I was making dinner when I heard a buzzing so loud I could only assume I was being swarmed by locusts and then it was INCREDIBLY close to my ear and I went to touch my hair and felt a hard shell. A stink bug had flown directly into my head and gotten stuck there. Naturally I screamed and flailed and then it fell to the back of my sweater and got stuck there. As I stripped down throwing clothes and contemplating shaving my head, I knew that this was just the beginning of my story with stink bugs. My hate for them reached its peak in 2017 when I was working at a new job and they were RAINING FROM A VENT IN THE CEILING ONTO MY DESK FOR WEEKS. So obviously the stinks and the spiders have always had a personal vendetta against me, see below for a journey through the years of definitely not at all dramatic live tweetings of each insectual encounter.

Although spiders, centipedes (WHY DO THEY HAVE SO MANY LEGS?!), stink bugs, bees (if they didn’t have a needle as an ass they wouldn’t be so horrifying), bed bugs, cockroaches and ants (one time I had carpenter ants in my wall and I could hear them building an empire at night) all fall into the creature category, we move up the chain of scary the bigger that the animal is. For example, I’m more afraid of bats than I am of spiders. Bats are creepy as hell with their red beady eyes and the fact that they swoop down without a sound and drink your blood and turn you into a vampire. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m a very impressionable girl. Someone will tell me a fact that may not even be true and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life, repeating it to everyone I meet. Back in my teen years when I held a cashier job at Wegmans, there was a bat loose in the store one day and a fellow cashier informed me that bats LOVE curly hair and tend to be drawn to it because it reminds them of their nest. Again, I immediately considered shaving my head. All I could think of was having a bat go after my luscious ringlets and then someone capturing it on my head with a bag, Dwight style. 

For the rest of my life, whenever I heard a bat story I relayed this fact to whoever would listen and told them I was deathly afraid. During a night of debauchery a few years ago, I was walking into a friend’s apt for a little pregame and as we were going up her back steps in the dark, something hit my head with such force that I obviously screamed. Without missing a beat, my friend goes oh that’s the bat that lives underneath our porch. HOW CASUAL. MY FEAR HAD BECOME REALIZED. THE BAT WANTED TO NEST IN MY CURLS AND RICOCHETED OFF OF MY DOME. I may or may not have rabies. I was never tested.

As if the 20 years of insects and bats preying on me WASN’T ENOUGH, we’ve arrived at DEFCON level 1 of creatures: Rodents. To be perfectly clear, even though people keep hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits as pets, they fall into the creature category for me. Ever since my childhood trauma of a friend who knew that I was afraid of hamsters PUT HER HAMSTERS—YES MORE THAN ONE— ON TOP OF ME, I’m OUT on both domesticated and wild rodents. I don’t care if it lives in a cage and you feed it and name it, get it the hell out of my life. My family learned just how a small furry critter could cripple my life in my teen years when I would spend hours upon hours in my basement in front of the family computer on AIM. Each night I would go down there at 10PM with a can of Pepsi and a snack and not re-emerge until 2 or 3AM. Who was I talking to? Realistically no one. I was probably updating my profile to highlight my 3 BFF’s initials or create a dramatic lyric with the right word italicized or just waiting for my crush to log on with that open door squeak while I blasted emo music and refreshed my Myspace page. I was “cool” in that basement. Until one night a tiny little mouse scampered across the carpet near me and I almost fell out of my chair and beat it up the stairs. To be clear, I did beat it up the stairs every single time I turned those lights off at the end of the night and if you didn’t also do the same to escape a possible serial killer then I don’t want to know you as a human. But anyway, after I ran from the furry foe, I declared that I wouldn’t return back downstairs until there was definitive proof that the mouse was gone and it did not have any remaining relatives or friends also kicking it rent-free in our basement. Do you know how much of a commitment it was for a teenager in the AIM days to boycott the computer?! It’d be like giving up your cell phone today. And I stuck to it! My dad caught the mouse almost immediately, shamed me for being afraid of it claiming it was the smallest mouse he’s ever seen and yet I still doubled down that it might have homies and didn’t return to my desktop throne for almost a month afterward. That’s when my family learned that I don’t F around when it comes to mice. 

My co-workers unfortunately had to learn this lesson many years later when I was pretty fresh on a job and was asked to help unload theatrical sets off a truck into a warehouse. I’m not sure of how someone could take one look at my bitch ass and think that I would EVER be helpful in this situation, but as I was new, I was on my best behavior and put on some sneakers to get to work. I quickly learned that not only was I useless because the set was made from steel and I’ve never lifted a weight in my life, but when we picked up a flat and uncovered A MOUSE GIVING BIRTH AT MY FEET, I solidified my role as top asshole by dropping the heavy set, squealing and nearly Kool Aid man running a hole in the wall to get the hell out of there. I’m sorry but once you VIEW A BLOODY MOUSE BIRTH CENTIMETERS FROM YOUR FEET, it’s curtains. I refused to even go on that side of the warehouse for the rest of my residency at this job. Luckily my soon to be boyfriend worked with me at the warehouse and I would regularly bat my eyes and tell him to go do my job if it required going into mousy territory. I’m not saying I’m a flirting expert but we DID date for three years after that so…I obv know how to reel ‘em in. I knew he’d be a ride or die when he went so far as to hide another Mickey on the loose situation from me a few months later knowing I would full on kill myself if I saw it. Also important note to any future suitors: clearly my only standard is can you deal with creatures so I don’t have to. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the only reason to get married is to have a full-time hubs to kill all the spiders and build all the things. 

Jumping for joy or away from mice? We may never know.

Here’s the thing, what I don’t know won’t hurt me. Seeing a mommy mouse with bloody baby mice hanging off of her scurry away (just wanted to give you that visual again because if I had to see it so do you) or finding a shredded marshmallow Santa in my overnight bag and putting the pieces together that a rodent joined the slumber party IS NOT SOMETHING I CAN HANDLE. I want to just exist in a bubble where creatures are not.

I feel like I needed to give you a full history of my creature interactions for you to understand why me finding mouse droppings on my kitchen counter the other night was THE END OF THE WORLD. I’ve been #blessed enough to never have a mouse-infested apartment…even when I lived in dirty water Boston. Well, the streak of luck has abruptly ended. I wanted to tell myself that it was just a little chocolate on the counter but I knew I had an uninvited guest and obviously texted everyone I know to alert them on the matter. I avoided my kitchen for the rest of the night, googled the best mouse traps to buy (and if renters insurance covers exterminators…it does not) and then promptly had 9000 nightmares about the mice crawling all over me in my sleep that evening. Everyone told me that would never happen and that they were more afraid of me than I am of them. UM. EXSQUEEZE ME?! I think we can all agree after reading this, that could not be further from the truth. Also, it’s an open apartment, these little fuckers are gonna go wherever they want and you know what’s super warm and cozy? MY BED. Jus sayin. As much as everyone tried to talk me down, shout out to my therapist who’s a real one and told me point blank that when she was living in Boston she woke up to find a mouse crawling up her arm and into her shirt where it then GOT STUCK IN HER HAIR. Nope. NOPE TIMES A MILLION TRILLION. ERASE ME FROM THIS PLANET IF THAT EVER HAPPENS TO ME. So IN YOUR FACE to everyone who told me I was overreacting. Obviously, I’m satisfied that I’ve proven everyone wrong with a real life incident but also I will now never sleep a wink again. The next morning I bought traps then FaceTimed my dad to learn how to set one. As my dad is telling me to hold the end down when putting the peanut butter in, I’m motioning to the spot where it goes and said, “Oh you mean right here?” And the trap snaps shut and OBLITERATES my finger. Immediate red mark, tears and permanent damage to my psyche when it comes to mouse traps. My dad rolled his eyes and told me that was exactly what he was saying. SORRY I’M NOT SMARTER THAN A MOUSE, DAD. 

That was right around the time when I gave up on this whole endeavor. If I moved out that day maybe I could find enough generous friends who allow me to couch surf until I’ve found a mouse-free living establishment. Instead, what I did was text my landlord with my uninjured hand and beg him to come over and set the traps for me. If you’ll recall, my landlord is a real baller having already dealt with me blowing a fuse for my Celine Dion Tiktok and clearly has a high tolerance for my bullshit and doesn’t just tell me to find a husband like my dad does. As he set the trap, I lowkey relayed to him that creatures terrify me and I was not doing well in this scenario so that he understood that in no way would I be dealing with these traps should they catch something. I think he picked up what I was putting down. I did not divulge that I refused to put the traps down because I was scared to get any closer to the crevices where I assumed the mouse was kicked back in a La-Z-Boy feasting on popcorn kernels. I had already been blowing in and out of my kitchen with hurricane force when hunger strikes, banging cabinets and talking out loud since I had found the droppings. I needed to remind my new roomie who was paying the rent here and more importantly, the heat bill. 

Needless to say, the next morning when I woke up, speedwalked through the kitchen to get in the shower and saw one of the traps on its side with a dark shadow, I had a full-on seizure of terror and almost knocked the door off its hinges trying to get into the bathroom. I slowly peered out of a crack in the bathroom door to confirm that the trap had a resident. I mean what if this thing was just playing dead or had somehow figured out a way to lap up that PB and not get caught? There was no way I was getting any closer to scope out the scene. I kept my eyes up and immediately texted my landlord to handle the disposal. And by that I mean I texted him (and everyone I know) “DEAD MOUSE ALERT sobbing emoji, puking emoji, skull emoji” and hoped that my colorful text would convey my crippling fear. It did. He got Mickey out of there REAL QUICK and just as I was feeling relieved that we were dealing with a dumbass who walked right into the trap on night one, he shared with me that mice are like rabbits and love to procreate. AKA THIS IS NOW A SAGA OF WAITING FOR THOSE TRAPS TO SNAP ON THE REMAINING TROOPS. So it was nice knowing you all. Thank you for your moral support and for laughing with me or at me through my struggles but this is it for me. I’ll just continue leading the great American bandstand through my kitchen when I need something and quickly retreating back to safety on my side of the apartment crippled by fear when I’m done. I’m no Snow White. I’m not equipped to handle living in the forest with the woodland creatures. We had quite a run. UhhhhBUHBYE.

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