Unusual Visitor

A visitor can show up at the most peculiar time.  Dawn is not yet evident, but from the sound of the traffic on the nearby highway, hours of rest are nearing an end.  The trailer is cold as usual.  The morning routine begins by waiting for the propane furnace to kick in before putting my feet to the cold RV floor.  A cozy warm fleece-lined bed is no match to the breath-seeing chilly Arizona air to scurry half naked to turn up the thermostat that’s located at the opposite end of the trailer.  Layers of warm clothes are within an arm’s reach.  (Actually, everything’s within reach in a 25-foot travel trailer.)  The items of clothing for the top half go on first while the bottom half of my body is still nestled in the warmth of the fuzzy sheets.  If everything goes smoothly to this point, the lower half gets fully clothed before the furnace kicks off because trailers can cool off quickly.  At a certain age, a body never knows how it will feel when it is fully awake and vertical.  Today’s a relatively good day.

Center of early morning activity

At the first sign of dawn, the dimmest light in the trailer gets turned on, which is the one over the stove.  Sleepy eyes just aren’t ready for an intense glaring light.  Gentleness is the theme in my life these days.  A small stainless steel pot with a long handle is ready to do the first of many chores on the stove today.  It gets filled with fresh spring water out of a plastic jug precisely to a level that prevents a spill over from boiling.  An Eddy match is struck and there’s now a warm glowing circle of tiny blue flames with yellowish tips beneath the pot.   A brown plastic cone-shaped filter, which still has the word Melitta engraved on the side in faint red letters, gets lined with thin same-shaped white paper.  As many coffee grounds as possible are scooped from a large tin can with an ordinary teaspoon and dumped into the cone like a front-end loader moving the biggest possible bucket load of dirt.  A small amount of prune juice from the fridge is poured in a tall rose-coloured plastic tumbler which awaits the addition of hot water.  The laptop gets turned on as I make my way to the back of the trailer to turn the furnace on again.   Windows plays a short ambient tune and the Avast antivirus lady inside the computer suggests that it is up and running.  Things are really hopping now.

Interior scene of my life

Anxiously waiting for the Arizona sun to warm up my tiny home, I raise the venetian blinds on the southeast side of the trailer just before making the bed.  The faint light from the exposed window turns my attention towards a black mark that is now visible beside the bed on the off-white bare linoleum floor.  I fumble for my glasses which I left on the nightstand and bend over to have a closer look.   The spot on the floor has now moved to a different location.  Good grief!  A bloody earwig!  What the hell is that doing in the trailer in the middle of February?

I had heard that there were earwigs in Arizona but were rarely seen during the winter.  In this part of the world, they are called Pincher Bugs for obvious reasons—they have pinchers and can bite.  I know from previous experience.  Finding one on this cold morning inside my home makes my skin crawl and leaves me wondering where this particular creepy crawly came from and if there are any more lurking in my space.

The Visiting Earwig

Before leaving my home in Nova Scotia last October to begin my journey to the southwest, I had a daily battle with earwigs inside my trailer.  There are just so many small holes on the outside frame for them to crawl through during the night into the interior.  I speculate what other creatures could crawl through, as I also hear that this part of Arizona has an ample population of tarantulas and scorpions.   In fact, a neighbour recently told me to tap out my shoes before putting them on in the morning because scorpions are known to snuggle into footwear overnight.

Over the years my property in Nova Scotia was an obvious popular breeding ground for earwigs.  It wasn’t unusual to find the odd one crawling across my living room floor, or worse still, playing possum in my bed, in my coffee cup, or on my toothbrush.   Freaky little twerps!  So last fall before I went to sleep every night in the trailer, my eyes scanned every cease and corner in the walls, on the floor, and in the bathroom.  I always found one or two earwigs playing hide and go seek with me in the smallest of cracks and in the most unlikely places.

Could the appearance of the pest this morning mean that it travelled with me all the way from Nova Scotia?  Yesterday was an exceptionally warm day here in Arizona.  Perhaps it came out of hibernation sooner than later.  Why did God create this creature anyway?  What purpose does an earwig serve in the grand scheme of things?  What other creatures would dare to eat it?  I can’t imagine an earwig offering a satisfying and appetizing taste to any predator.  Could the answer to these questions be to teach gardeners patience and tolerance with all of God’s creatures, especially with this pesky devouring vegetarian monster.

Lettuce garden outside my RV door

Back to the problem at my feet, this morning’s critter looks pretty dozy and confused, so it is an easy game of capture and release into the wild.  Not wanting to freeze myself from the early morning cold air outside, I open the door a crack and toss the captive a few feet from the trailer beside my small plastic garden bin full of healthy growing lettuce.  Regardless of its origin and where it was hiding all these months, the stupid little bug is now fending for itself somewhere in my front yard.

Oh shit!  My lettuce!

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14 Responses to Unusual Visitor

  1. Lynda Mallett says:

    Shanomi I really enjoyed this story. I have just read it aloud (a test of good writing) so I can share it with Stuart.
    I love it when a story has pace. I also love to be told the ‘details’. And in this case an ending with humour! Very satisfying.
    Thanks. Lynda

    • Shanomi says:

      I am absolutely thrilled to hear from you, Lynda, and thank you for your comment. Glad to know that you will be following along.
      Blessings to you both

  2. Ginny says:

    A bloody earwig! I don’t think so, look a little closer, that is not a bloody earwig, and it is a Canadian earwig. Be careful, smuggling illegal “insects” across the border is against the law. But no matter, it is in your lettuce patch, can you see it? It will be back in the RV in no time, and will come home to Canada, you’ll see.
    Most people eat at least one spider in their lifetime when they are sleeping. With some people, it keeps their hair from going grey, white, whatever. Apparently it did not work for me.

  3. Peg says:

    Hey girl,
    Your writing is growing by leaps and bounds. I so enjoy the glimpses into your
    life in Arizona. Even the tough experiences, like the earwig take on a charm of their
    own, the way you describe them. Keep the stories coming!

    • Shanomi says:

      Hi Peg…Just when I think that I’m writing such kooky stuff and nobody will want to read it anymore, your wonderful comments always make me feel like I need to keep doing it. So thank you. I am in progress of finding my writing voice; not quite there yet, but almost. Hope the winter up there is being kind to you. Stay well.

  4. Margaret says:

    Hello – enjoyed reading the saga of the earwig – yes they have nasty pinchers – baking soda is not something they care for – bay leaves are also a deterrent – apparently they love moisture – early a.m. dew – perhaps? as always you are a TEACHER first – great to read that you’ve started a ‘rotton-club’ or should I say ‘rotting club’??? – anyway dear friend keep up your steady flow of observations, sentiments, and stories of your current wander-lust – a bus-laides holidays – what fun – a great book in the making –
    Oh, & p.s.: I’m making healthy home made bread these days – have gained several inches in all the right places – sweet
    happy trails
    but not from the earwigs

    • Shanomi says:

      Hi Margaret…I wanted to write when I woke up that early earwig morning, but at a lost as to the topic. Visiting earwig gave me inspiration, so I thank he/she/it for that. Ah, what can I say about homemade bread? It needs to be eaten warm with lots of butter. Either that or give it away before you eat the carbs and cholesterol. Lovely to hear from you.
      Stay well, and let the sun melt the snow, not your shovel.:)
      Blessings to you both

  5. Joan Hebb says:

    I can just imagine that earwig scratching its head thinking of an entrance back in your home – why didn’t you kill the bloody thing!!! ’cause now you will think it could be eating your lettuce! Like you, I can’t help but wonder what their purpose is in life – why didn’t God save those “parts” for a more worthwhile creature! Learned on Wed night that Joy and Tom provided transportation to a squirrel from B’water to Florida – it chewed some toilet paper and ate cookies during the journey. I feel sorry that this little squirrel is stranded in Florida and is separated from its B’water friends – maybe it will hang around to catch the journey back in a few months time – what do you think?! Oh yes, the squirrel was hiding in the trunk of their vehicle! ha Relax, hope your day will go well, Shanomi.

    • Shanomi says:

      That’s too funny, Joan. Poor little squirrel. They probably don’t have them in Florida, so your friends really started something. My friends here are accusing me of increasing the earwig population in this part of the world when they were just getting a handle on the overpopulation. Chances are though, my little travelling critter is right back in here this morning and finding a better hiding place.:)
      Take care, dear friend, and thanks for that wonderful critter story.

  6. Paulette says:

    Ha Ha funny girl. Guinea hens eat earwigs, so they do have a purpose. You could get a pet guinea hen. Hugs.

    • Shanomi says:

      I was going to write that Quail eat earwigs, but then again, that would have spoiled my story. Hate those guys though. I guess it’s better than facing a tarantula on my pillow. Did I ever tell you, Paulette, that when I was a little girl I swallowed a big spider in bed. It was sitting on my pillow and walked into my mouth as I yawned. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to spit it out. I choked and swallowed. It grossed me out for years; in fact, I’m still obviously talking about it. No lie – ever since then I always put my hand over my mouth when I yawn in bed. Rest well tonight.:) Anyone else out there in cyberspace have a creepy bug story?

  7. sandy lewis says:

    Mmmmmmmm, wonderful lettuce garden. I have grown a papaya tree from seeds I threw in last year. It is now 5 ft tall with blooms.
    Enjoy your pets, a sign of life, for sure. Keep them at arm’s length.
    Enjoy your amusing writings, wonderful.
    Are you meeting interesting people?
    Think of you so often.
    Luck and wishes, sandy

    • Shanomi says:

      Thanks Sandy. I think of you often too. I miss having a real garden but I don’t miss all the work to maintain it. Once a gardener though, always a gardener – I couldn’t let all this Arizona sunshine and warm temperatures go by without sticking something in the ground. I also started a composting project at the RV park and already have a large bin full of organic rot outside my door with no garden to put it in. I’ll be leaving in April, so the rest of the gang here will have to decide what to do with it. Lots of interesting people to fight over it.:)

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