The rainy season stubbornly refuses to leave this year, and I’ve been confronted with numerous unwanted house guests: woodlice. Call them what you want: woodlice, pill-bugs, roly-poly, they’re all the same thing, and they’re all living in my damn house.
Okay, I know it’s not Spielberg, but it’s taking place in my damn house. Now, I checked in with Wikipedia, and those kind folks reassure me that I have nothing to worry about. The common woodlouse is perfectly harmless to human beings. They don’t carry disease, they don’t contaminate unexposed food, they don’t bite and they don’t stay up until 3:00 a.m. drinking all your beer and yelling at the TV. I don’t care. It’s just more than a tad creepy to see them wandering through the house like this. Yeah, I’ll never get rabies from them, but, well, there’s a multi-legged creature patrolling the house.
These little bastards are cocky. They fear nothing, they don’t pick up the pace if they see me or the cats coming and they don’t move for anyone. I used to think they had a real attitude because I’d pick them up to put them outside and the little bastards wouldn’t even roll up into a defensive posture.
However, in my never-ending quest to figure out why they’re here, I found out that most varieties of woodlice can’t actually do this. It kind of takes the joy out of poking at them. So, what I mistook for a serious attitude problem turns out to be a physical limitation. I also found out that even though they live on land, they breathe through gills. This earned them the name, “terrestrial crustaceans.” This also tempts me to throw some in the toilet to see if they survive (provided nobody flushes in the mean time).
Yeah, still not Spielberg and the special effects, quite frankly, suck. Still here he is. (I’m assuming a he. It wasn’t wearing heels and I didn’t bother to ask.) It’s a different woodlouse from the first one, although I’ll be damned if I could pick either one out of the typical woodlouse line-up. All I know is that I’m the innocent victim of a home invasion of the crustacean kind, and it’s maddening. I blame my landlord. He’s the one that won’t fix a damn thing in this den of invertebrates.
See, one of the things the crazy landlord is “getting around to” is fixing the one inch gap around the entire perimeter of my door. You would think that having a gigantic gap around your door could be kind of convenient: free air-conditioning in the summer, rain and refreshing breezes whipping through in the winter. Maybe, but it gets kind of old when the floor is never dry, the electric bill is $500 a month and you get little visitors of all kinds sneaking in and not paying rent.
That is a trilobite. Notice how much it resembles my little visitors? Apparently these things are ancient, as is the wood currently holding up the house. Woodlice feed on rotting vegetation and rotting wood. They thrive in damp, decaying places. The fact that this house appears to be inundated with a thriving population of these little suckers does not instill confidence. See, my landlord also owns the property next door. One morning I had to go over there and help rescue my neighbor because the floor to his bathroom collapsed next to the sink, taking him down with it. I can only hope I don’t meet the same fate. God only knows what’s living under there, but I don’t want to meet up with it.
In the mean time, I wonder if I can get the little invaders to pay rent. They already know I’m a sucka, preferring to gently pick them up and escort them back to the earth outside. Live and let live, that’s the ticket. However, if I keep getting all these visitors, it’s going to become “Shake down and get rent.” I just hope these things have access to spare change wherever they’re hanging out when not in my house.