March 26, 2000
Right now I'm feeling: Ippai! (Full. I just ate dinner)
Right now I'm listening to: Ai no [heart] ai no hoshi by The Brilliant Green (a great J-Pop group)
Quote of the Day:
"Go to your bosom;
Knock there; and ask your heart,
what it doth know."
-- Shakespeare,
Measure for Measure
Creatures of the Night

I honestly don't know how they get in. My apartment is a veritable fortress. Shut up and sealed against the bitter cold, deluging rain and howling winds which frequent this God-forsaken country (well, it does get a bit cold in the winter, anyway). Sometimes I think I need to open a window simply to allow more oxygen inside, I think it's that impenetrable. My apartment is weather-stripped to the teeth and during the colder months ne'er a window is opened. So how on earth can something as large as the cockroach I saw last night get into my apartment? (For those who don't know, Japanese cockroaches are a vile subspecies of the normal breed of cockroach. They are fast, can fly, and they are large enough to own property in most third-world countries.)

In general, I think I am a live-and-let-live kind of guy. The only things I will go out of my way to kill are spiders (allergic to the bites), mosquitoes (again, the bites), flies (annoying as hell), and cockroaches. For those of you who do not know the sensation, the feeling, of suddenly discovering that you have a cockroach living in your palace, count yourselves fortunate. First, there is that spark of unrecognition: "What is that black object sitting on the wall or moving across the floor?" About a fourth of a second later comes shock and recognition: "Holy shit! It's a goddam cockroach!!" This particular recognition incident occured when I was in my bathroom engaged in the then unfortunate activity of (as my neighbors and I so fondly refer to it) "taking care of some paperwork". I just looked up and there he was.

He was looking at me, of that I can be sure. A deer in headlights, he had been caught. Frozen. Holding perfectly still he hoped that I would overlook his grotesque form, black exoskeleton and long antennae. I would do what I needed to do, then turn off the light and leave him. Leave him to whatever activities he was involved in before I opened the door and turned on the light (What on earth was he doing there of all places? That, I was curious about. There is not a crumb of food in there... What does a cockroach do when it's not hungry? Perhaps there is a cockroach subculture, hidden from the prying eyes of man not unlike the scenario in the movie "Joe's Apartment". A wellspring of sociological and cultural richness the likes of which has not been seen in over a thousand years. Oh, well. I'll never know cause I'd rather kill the little bastard than talk to him).

As quickly as nature would allow I finished my duty and quietly left the room. Under the kitchen sink I dove and there it was. A metallic container on which only one symbol I could understand: an encircled cockroach with one red line through it.

I slid through the door and saluted my adversary. He was there, waiting. He was looking forward to our battle. Some might say that it was not a fair match. Indeed it was not. I was woefully underarmed for the fight; for he had millions of years of evolution on his side. His hardy genetics had insured his survial through ice ages. He had witnessed the demise of countless other species at the hands of natural selection. He and his ancestors had held the double-helixed Trophy of Life for ages. And now, I, with only a small metallic can as my sidearm was to unthrone him? Rather I fight Mike Tyson with one hand tied behind my back than the world's most tenacious survivor. Nevertheless, I took the challenge.

He called out his mocking insults from the floor whilst I defended myself with the sacred canister. Thick clouds of death spewed forth from the nozzle, but he was unaffected; he laughed at my efforts. Oh, how he laughed. Enraged, I strained my pushing-finger beyond human endurance and he began to run.

Unfazed by his insults, I pursued him behind the toilet and he fled. He ran behind the door. I flung it open and sprayed as I had never sprayed before. With the last of his strength he called out a curse on me and my kin; that the Earth would one day belong to his descendants and mine would be nothing but dust. I emerged from the bathroom, exhausted, but victorious! The test of natural selection had been given; I had passed, he failed.

The cockroach can exist where humans cannot, under conditions we would give up in, let alone thrive. Some say that he will outlive us. That we'll destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons, but the cockroach will live on because he can survive through that. I am not of that opinion. When humans leave this world for the last time with the plant and animal species of Earth before our sun goes nova, I truly hope we leave the cochroach behind.
Yeah, let's see him evolve
himself out of that one!


I am loving this vacation thing. It's almost like I can stretch out my mind in time, like lying down on a soft bed, tensing every muscle you have, inhaling deeply, then letting them all go slack at once. It feels great.

One danger of a vacation, though, is allowing yourself to mess up your sleep cycles. I am particularly bad about this. I wish I had more discipline about sleep. If I had I wouldn't have found myself at 6 am this morning eating a hamburger and fries (my dinner) watching a movie as the sun came up. I went to bed around 7 and woke up around 1pm. Well, at least I'm relaxing and not stressing out about this vacation like I usually do. Stress? About vacation? Yes, stress. Big time. Usually starting the first morning I wake up with the thought, "I have to do all that today?!? But for the past couple of days I'm just relaxing. It's nice. It's a change of pace. Maybe it was that shiatsu massage Seiko gave me the other day. It was great.

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