By Hannah Reich Berman
The older I get, the more I discover that just about everything my mother ever told me was true. I have yet to discover much that she said that wasn’t. Mom often said, “You know you’re getting older when you begin talking to yourself.” She was right about that. But there were some vital pieces of info that she left out. I offer as an example the fact that, lately, I not only talk to myself, but I go so far as to speak to dead or inanimate objects. I’m not sure that this falls into the category of talking to myself. I am actually talking to critters; crickets, to be more specific.
In my house, one has to move with caution. I warn people to step gingerly because, at any given time, there might be five or more sticky pads scattered around the floor. For those who are not in the know, these sticky pads have a peanut-butter aroma that attracts the crickets. Thanks to that smell, they mosey on over to the pad and, once they step on it, their days are numbered. To be more specific, their hours are numbered. They can’t possibly get off it, because their skinny little tentacles are stuck for all eternity. (Some might refer to the things they walk on as legs, but I find them so gross that I define them as tentacles.) Whatever one chooses to call those things they walk on, they’re very skinny and, if I can’t get my large hoof off of those pads (should I accidentally step on one), the crickets certainly don’t stand a chance.
Several weeks back, I spotted a large cricket just inside my front door. As is my usual custom, I attempted to step on it. But crickets also have customs. And their usual custom is to get away from me. And they are nothing if not quick! I’d always thought that nothing was faster than the jaguar and the impala—the animals, not the cars by the same name. But to me it seems that not one of G-d’s creatures is faster than the cricket. I’m just not sure why G-d bothered to create them in the first place. But, as with all things that mystify me, I assume there must be a purpose.
It is possible that crickets might not be all that fast. Maybe they’re just the best jumpers. They jump so high and so quickly that some people refer to them as jumping spiders. But, whether they’re crickets or jumping spiders, who cares? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And a cricket, by any other name, if found indoors, would be just as revolting.
Just one day after I tried to step on this ugly thing in my front hall, and after it hopped (or jumped) out of the way of my shoe, I spied it again. This time I went for my trusty fly swatter. After all, I thought, if a swatter is good enough for a fly, it should be good enough for a cricket. I was wrong. It didn’t work any better than my foot had. Just when I was sure he hadn’t noticed the swatter, and as I went to slam it down on him, he deftly hopped (or jumped) out of range. (Just for the record, I think of all bugs and critters as “he.” There’s nothing biased in my thinking. If men can refer to their cars as “she,” there should be no reason why a critter can’t be considered a “he.”)
Frustrated, I went to my supply of sticky pads, grabbed one off the shelf, and carefully peeled off the backing. Then—holding it by the edges, so as not to get my fingers stuck—I placed the pad on the floor. I took care to put it in the corner, so it would be behind the front door when it was opened. That way, nobody would be likely to accidentally step on it. That pad remained in place for two full weeks, but the cricket never showed again. After 14 days, convinced that he had left for parts unknown, I picked up the pad (again, very carefully) and tossed it out. But he was one smart cricket because, less than a day later, I spotted him again.
That was when determination set in—my determination, not the cricket’s. I just had to get him! I don’t like losing, especially when I’m doing battle with a critter. My reasoning was that, since I was bigger, I must be smarter. Surely a human being can outsmart a critter. So I decided to try again. I was determined to outsmart that thing.
I went for a second sticky pad but this time, after peeling off the backing, I didn’t put it on the floor of the hallway. Instead, I placed the pad on the floor of the coat closet and shut the door tightly. My reasoning was that crickets seem to love the dark, so this little guy, in the darkness, might feel safe to meander around the floor. I checked that pad every day, but it was always empty. It took time. But it eventually happened.
One week later, I opened the closet door, looked down and, sure enough, there he was! “Gotcha, ya little creep!” I yelled. It may have sounded like I was talking to myself. I wasn’t! I was talking to him. My mother never told me I’d be doing that. But that’s the way it is. v
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-902-3733.