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A Lesson From Roaches

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. --Einstein


For those who don't know, Washington D.C. is full of old apartment buildings. And a common problem in old apartment buildings? Bugs.


Specifically cockroaches. Or what I have been told are cockroaches. And not the big, one and done type of cockroaches that can be found in the South during summertime.


No these are a small, tiny, infestation of invading little insects that simply have no concept of staying outside where they belong. Where there's one, there's usually hundreds. And in old buildings where the walls are thin and the floors and ceilings have cracks and holes, one neighbor forgetting to do their dishes can equal an entire floor being overrun by the nasty little bugs.


I hate bugs (not a surprise).


I hate these bugs especially because they were determined to defy odds and logic by continuously wearing out their welcome. It felt like no matter what I did, these little punks kept showing up again and again.


I tried deep-cleaned my apartment.


I used essential oils to make a bug repellent.


I called pest control which somehow made the bug problem even worse?


I had done everything under the sun to keep the bugs out. Except for one thing that I'm sure everyone thinks is the solution I should have started with: Bug Poison.


It's a bit silly to admit, but I was desperately trying to avoid using poison or any other lethal type of spray. For one, I was worried about my very nosy dog who makes it his business to eat and lick any surface within reach. Weirdly enough, I was also thinking it seemed a bit excessive to have to use such a strong spray. I silently argued that there wasn't a call for such an extreme reaction yet.


But the real reason I didn't want to use the bug spray was kind of ridiculous. To me, jumping straight to industrial grade outdoor insect killer felt like cheating. I thought that by using it, I would have to admit that I can't keep my apartment clean enough on my own to not have bugs. That I wasn't a good adult able to live alone without incident (ignoring the time I set the smoke alarm off), and would have to be bailed out with a bug spray my parents bought for me.


Stupid? Yes very. But aren't most prideful things dumb, at the end of the day?


"The bugs just aren't that bad," I thought to myself as I sprayed my kitchen yet again with a peppermint and water solution. "I'll just vacuum and mop again, but it's not that bad."


Of course the bugs actually were that bad and after the frustration hit a level I never expected, I finally sprayed the apartment with an actual bug killer.


It smelled beyond awful ("lavender"-scented poison has to be the stupidest product to exist), even with the windows open all day. I had to overcome anxiety about my dog accidentally killing himself by an errant lick or sniff by scrubbing and mopping the floors. And of course for the next few days I woke up to little carcasses on the floor (nothing ruins a brekkie appetite like hundreds of dead bugs).


But the spray worked and I really haven't been bothered by little roaches sense.


If my pride at not wanting to feel like an incompetent adult hadn't held me back, I could have been bug free weeks ago! Instead, I let an unnecessary and unrealistic fear of 'judgement' trap me into living out Albert Einstein's definition of insanity.


Sometimes we do stupid, silly things because of pride or fear. Sometimes we do those things repeatedly, knowing we should take the outside source of help while still refusing it. And then we wonder why our solution isn't working.


Over and over and over.


If there was one good thing from the roach-infestation, it was a reminder for myself that there's nothing wrong with accepting help. It doesn't detract from my independence or competency as a person to use the things that are literally there to solve a problem in the first place.


In the same way it doesn't detract your strength by taking help when another person offers it.


So, all this to say, if there's an issues you've been trying to hit again and again with the same tactics that keep failing? Look for some outside help.


And for the love of God, wash your dishes.






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