Sometimes ending the life of an insect invader is quick and relatively painless – at least for me. I can’t speak for the bug. Other times, depending on the circumstances, it is a major event. Whether or not my hands are clean and the size and type of the bug are some of the factors that determine the level of ease or difficulty of the destruction. Just stepping out of the shower is definitely not a good time to encounter an insect. It’s an especially inopportune time to discover an unusual bug, one that is unfamiliar and unpredictable.
That is what happened one evening. There it was on the bathroom mirror – a variety of insect I had never before seen. There I was, unclothed and as clean as I could possibly be. Certain bugs stay stationary for long periods and others are antsy (pun intended), they won’t stay still. This one was a mover. It was crawling all over the mirror. What to do? I could grab a pair of gloves and try to kill it right away, but that would greatly alter my routine, or I could let it crawl around for a few minutes until it was more convenient for me.
My dilemma was ended suddenly when the thing started flying. Fliers are so much worse than crawlers! Crawlers can be watched and there is little chance of physical contact until the time of death, or, if using a spray insecticide, after death. Fliers present the constant danger of a landing. Just a couple of seconds after it took flight I decided to exit the bathroom – ritual be damned – and not come back until properly armed. But it was not to be. A second later, the landing occurred. The unidentified creature landed on my back near my underarm. Believe it or not, the location of the landing was very important. If it had landed on my head, I would have had to get back in the shower. If it had landed on my leg, I would have been unhappy, but no extra washing would have been necessary because, as I have detailed before, the closer to the floor, the less clean a body part is anyway. Somewhere in the middle is problematic.
Of course, my kneejerk reaction was to slap it off with my hand. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel it. It flew back on the mirror, and then I declared war. Hands already dirty, I grabbed some tissue and smashed the fiend in an instant! But what about my contaminated back? The spot was high up enough that I strongly considered another shower, but after a few minutes of debate, I decided I was too tired and it was too late and that I could handle it another way.
I went to my bedroom to my stash of wet wipes. I could barely reach the spot, but I cleaned it several times as best I could. It was not satisfactory, but I had to make it work. I dressed for bed, but the area was not truly clean. I could only get into bed because it was covered by my nightshirt. I had trouble falling asleep though because I was afraid that my arm had become cross-contaminated or that my shirt sleeve had rolled up and exposed the area, and that the germs would transfer to my bed and I would have to do an unscheduled washing.
I did eventually fall asleep, but the ordeal lasted throughout the following day. When changing clothes, I had to be extremely careful to avoid cross-contamination to other body parts touched by the clothing. The entire day I avoided touching my shoulder on the side where the incident happened. It was not over till I got back in the shower that night, poured alcohol down my back and washed and washed and washed. With OCD nothing is simple.