Centipedes and Cockroaches and Rats, oh my!


So a group of us Maui ladies got together last night at a little restaurant to catch up on each other’s lives. What I’d like to ask you is this: Is it normal for a group of adult women to sit around and compare notes about how big the centipede was that we found in our kitchen?  Or under the bath mat?  To compare the color, the length, the width? I can’t be sure, but women in other parts of the country (especially the contingent that made the movie “Bridesmaids” a smash hit ) probably discuss other things at length. But there we were, like a bunch of guys after a day of fishing, where the fish just gets bigger as the discussion goes on.

But I held the trump card.

“Any of you ladies ever opened up your gas grill on your lanai and had a rat running around in there?” I asked. “Because that’s what happened to me Sunday evening.”  Lots of gasps followed. I’m not talking a mouse. It was a rat, with a nice long tail, and he wasn’t Ratatouille.  And I’m not ashamed to admit that while watching that stunned rat careen around on top of the grate that was supposed to then hold my steak, my appetite went right with him as he plunged off the grill and over the side of the porch rail. That sucker could move.

My friend Wendy spoke up: “I knew when I moved to Maui that I’d have to make peace with the bugs. I mean, really make peace with them. But a rat in the grill? No way.”

These things didn’t happen on the mainland.

I remember the first night I stayed in my new Maui rental, shared with two other roommates, who happened to be at work.  A green creature went running up the side of the bedroom wall and across the ceiling. I screeched.  It then made a weird chirping sound, and I was convinced it was a battle cry. I didn’t sleep that night, afraid it would run across the bed, afraid it would bite. I had no idea what it was. The next morning I described it in detail to my roommate, and insisted that he catch it and remove it from the house. He laughed so hard his eyes watered.  “That was a gecko.  They’re supposed to be good luck. Someday you’ll laugh about this.”

I didn’t believe him, but of course I did eventually laugh about it, kind of in the same spirit that Crocodile Dundee pulled out his knife and said, “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife.” Because the gecko was nothing compared to all the other creatures I was going to have to learn to live with. I even went on to have a Jackson chameleon as a pet, and a Jackson is really just a bigger gecko with horns, which turns blue when it’s mad.

For now, just after the rat incident, I’m going to go have a nice green salad and think about how long I can go without grilling a piece of meat.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. May not be reblogged or reprinted without  written permission of the author.

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