I came home late, tired from the heat and long day, worn down from a scratchy throat that was either the sign of too much air conditioning or the awful cold my friend had at the end of last week. I went through my mail and pile of junk mail in hand turned on the kitchen light to find a giant water bug in the middle of the floor. Okay, it was not really that big. And, after lots of research I am calling it a water bug to assuage my disgust at the fact that it was in all likelihood a cockroach. I paused, pondered whether I could escort it outside, then massacred it with the heavy stack of junk mail in my hand. The vegetarian, trying to be vegan, don’t harm any other creates part of me freaked out while the I want a clean house free of insects part of me viscously smacked this thing to pieces with credit card offers and letters from organizations asking for donations.
I have been grappling with the fact that random little bugs find their way into my home for a month now. I try to tell myself that this is a good sign. My old apartment was in an area that had such a hazardous environment no bugs could survive there. Here I look out my windows to backyards filled with trees, plants, grass, life. It is a good thing that these little guys are able to survive and thrive here, at least until my cat gets to them. I am able to breathe more easily and have felt better in this last month than I did surrounded by the contamination of massive construction that might or might not lead to a new subway line steps from where my old apartment is located. Little critters mean life, healthy thriving life. Water bugs are a whole other story.
As I write this I keep telling myself it was only one. My kitchen is clean. The rest of my apartment is clean. And yet, so many friends I know, with very clean apartments, have had issues with water bugs. They are a fact of city life, just like the rats in the subway. I just don’t want them to be a part of my life. I keep coming back to a beautiful mantra that was the theme of the yoga teacher training I did. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. May all beings be happy and free, and may all of my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to that happiness and freedom. There is a piece of me that feels liberated at having killed that bug. It felt kind of good to smash it to pieces. There is also a piece of me that is very hung up on the fact that I just killed a living creature. Is it really possible to peacefully coexist with all living creatures? Sure, when they are not trying to take up residence in your kitchen.