It was am interesting piece but left me no more enamored of the vile creatures. I always thought that if my mother ever saw a cock roach while visiting NOLA she would have had a heart attack right then and there.
I had a professor in undergraduate school in St. Louis. She taught neurobiology. Whenever she heard that I was coming to visit New Orleans she would implore me to bring her back a jar of live cockroaches as she studied their nervous system. Oh, how I loathed that task. I did end up acing the course though.
One of my childhood traumas was waking up in the middle of the night when I was about 5 years old. I felt something crawling across my nether regions, so I turned on the light and pulled down my pyjama pants. The was a huge cockroach sitting on my penis. I started shrieking so loud that I think my mother arrived in less than two seconds, thinking that somebody was cutting my throat. Within about 2 days an exterminator was spraying his stuff in every corner of the house, and the contract continued for several years.
I never saw one until I moved down South. Not even in NYC. I suppose they adapt to just about any climate.
I've had those big flying Palmetto bugs which have to be some kind of cockroach land on me in the night, and I know just what horror you describe Kerouac. I screamed so loud as to frighten my husband to death.
After growing up in Mississippi, I had absolutely no fear or any sort of insect. It was a bit hilarious when my family moved to California and I discovered that everybody was terrified of any sort of bug. I can pick just about anything up when a Californian (and probably plenty of other people) will run away screaming. I do think I ever saw a palmetto bug until my parents moved to Florida. They seemed to be in every corner of the house (usually dead). There were palmetto bug poison devices in every room, which I suppose were effective, but considering the size of them, I always wondered how they got into the house in the first place. I guess there is more room under the doors than I thought there was, or else they enter when they are much smaller and reach a healthy size before they find the poison.
Interesting article but still loathe them, when I was 18 I lived in what was an old workhouse and had been converted into nurses quarters , one bathroom and kitchen for about 30 rooms. At night armies of them marched down the corridor so going to the loo about 100 yards down from my room at night was a "crunchy" experience. My bladder capacity increased dramatically during the months I lived there.
yeah, somehow they are just ... urgh ... like slugs - they are harmless too (though not sure if they have personalities) and yet i can't stand them (though i wouldn't run away screaming - from a slug i can walk away slowly).
fortunately no cockroaches around here, though - if they can adapt to any climate then i wonder why some places don't have them?
there were quite a few where we lived in kerala though (some would fly across the room, so maybe they were like these palmetto bugs you wrote about?), and they made me strongly dislike going to the bathroom at night. always could only go with a flashlight too, rather than turning the light on properly, as i had to cross a room where other people were sleeping. and each time the light hit them, they fled - almost always into the direction i was standing ...