There are times when being single isn’t all beer and skittles… times when you can maybe imagine trading all those delightfully solo single choices for a duet and a compromise… even times when you’d consider sharing a bathroom with someone who would naturally expect you to get half your crap out of the medicine cabinet… times when you would actually do it.
Times like last night.
It all started with musings about high concept movies.
One of the highest high-concept movies of all time (right up there with Jaws and Eight Legged Freaks) is set to roll out this summer, with a title so “I get it” you might wish you’d thought it up yourself.
(And then went to film school and suffered through dozens of hack jobs, underappreciated, taken for granted – abused even – before getting just one tiny break and then another, then catching someone’s eye, then possibly having to do things you’d never tell your mother to get just one more tiny little freaking break, and another, then get to be First AD on some piece of crap picture so bad you’d never-tell-your-mother-and-it’s-not-even-porn, then get this crazy idea in the middle of the night and use every last little favour you’d ever built up just to pitch it to someone you don’t even respect and who’d steal your idea then take the credit and win an Academy Award. Or something like that. It’s a story as old as time…)
‘Snakes on a Plane’.
Do you even need to see it? I know you want to – who wouldn’t – but the whole plot just reels out before you and it doesn’t even matter if you get it right, because any movie about snakes escaping on an airplane (they’d have to be escaping – there’s no story in a bag or a box or a cage or a crate of snakes making it safely from one destination to the next) has got to be good. Or at least visually arresting or compellingly watchable – because if there’s one thing the average imagination has no trouble with, it’s imagining hundreds of goddamn snakes erupting, slithering, darting, coiling, springing, hiding, waiting to pounce or popping up out of a tiny airplane toilet just when you’d least expect it – or want to. At least my imagination has no trouble with it at all.
I was – for some reason – thinking about it last night and chose just that moment to go to the kitchen for something or other and right before my eyes, out darted a centipede. A huge, brown, revoltingly multi-peded, burnished copper-brown insect skittered between my legs (oh God – what if it had gone up my leg? Must… stop… thinking… about… a…centipede… in… my… panties…) and paused for a moment by the dog’s dinner bowl, just sort of hovering there while I went through all the usual reactions; a half wretch, involuntary itching and shivering, hopping from one foot to the next, looking for absent friends, then looking for something to whack it with (this happened in seconds – including imagining whacking it, then mentally backing up and having a quick debate in my mind about whether or not I could do it, then how I would pick up it’s hideous corpse and whether one (or more!) of its incredibly awful little legs (or feet! Do they have feet?) would brush against my hand or finger or arm and how I’d feel about that and whether I could ever enter my kitchen again without reliving the whole upsetting experience) before settling on the University of Toronto continuing education catalogue with which to do the deed.
(Because unless they’ve got a course on amateur extermination I’m not even going, so it’s no great loss if it ends up being coated with ex-centipede slime.)
But the little bastard made a break for it and scuttled (it took a moment to get his entire repulsive body going) under the dishwasher where as far as I can tell he remains holed up.
And now what am I going to do?
Centipede in My Kitchen.
And no, my kitchen isn’t some seldom used storage room for snacks and ice and dog food – it’s a fully operational, frequently entered, constantly used nook from which meals – from scratch and from recipes mind you – flow out with the speed and agility of a centipede wriggling under a dishwasher. Sesame crusted salmon? Check. Shrimp in garlic, peppers, parsley and white wine? Oh yes. Boeuf en Croute? Lamb with garlic and shallots in red wine vinegar? Yeah baby. Yeah.
But not last night. Last night I stopped wanting to go in there. Last night I didn’t want Coq au Vin, or Veal Sauté Marengo, or even so much as a tunafish sandwich on multi-grain; last night I wanted a man.
I wanted him to go in there and kill it. Step on it. Smash it. Squish it ‘til its guts splooshed out. Grind it into centipede hash and serve it to some unsuspecting bird.
Frankly? I wanted it gone.
There’s a lot I’ve learned to do for myself living alone – a lot I thought I’d never be able to do: making dentist appointments without being told, paying my taxes, getting regular checkups, cleaning the oven, amusing myself when the cable goes out or the internet connection fails, fixing the toilet, unblocking a drain, getting over a broken heart, sewing on a button, re-wiring a lamp. All of that I can and do do. But I cannot – and on this there can be no negotiation – I cannot handle centipedes.
I cannot live at the centre of my very own horror movie, even if the topic of that film would not sell a single ticket or frighten one single impressionable, sensitive, crybaby kid.
I feel itchy all the time now – the hair on the back of my neck is at permanent attention and my eyes are always darting, darting, trying to see where the bastard centipede might be coming from next. I didn’t sleep well last night and I’m typing this with one hand so I can grasp the continuing ed catalogue with the other. This is no way to live.
So I get a man – or I move.