I have a cricket. Just one. It’s in my kitchen. No idea where. Its KRRRIP KRRRIP KRRRIPs emit from somewhere in or around the cabinets, or behind or under the stove, or maybe somewhere inside the radiator, unless it’s hiding under the sink. Originally it was in the basement, where I first heard it while doing laundry the other night. It shut up as soon as I walked over to the washing machine, as though it just noticed the intrusion and suddenly turned coy and shut the hell up. OH NOOOO, the cricket said to itself, I DON’T WANT THAT WEIRD LADY TO NOTICE ME.
I didn’t stop to wonder why a cricket was in my basement, because, first of all, crickets are always welcome here. I have a pro-cricket policy that goes back to my girlhood on a lake in rural Connecticut, and I suspect this liberal reputation of mine has trickled through the cricket population over the years. The other reason why I wasn’t surprised to find a cricket down there: because my basement is a lake. It’s so wet, I can actually swim in it.
I mean this. There are fish. Large ones; I have the teeth marks of an angry Northern Pike on my left ring finger to prove it. I even dock a boat down there, and not just some pathetic excuse for a dinghy, either. I mean a speed boat, the kind that growls and thud-thud-thuds over the waves. Sometimes, whenever I can rope one of my kids into taking the wheel, I water ski. You should see me jump the wake! Whoo-hooo! I’m telling you, I totally kick ass in that basement. And you know what else? Surrounding the lake down there is an entire nature preserve. With woods. A swamp, even. Wildflowers. Water birds. Stinging things. Bears. Bigfoot. A whole ecosystem.
So, no, finding a cricket there was not a shocker. I am not sure what induced the leggy stridulating insect-man to come upstairs, unless he was lonely and looking for some hot cricket mama, and yes, I just gender-assigned my cricket. No “it” for this big boy any longer, hubba hubba. Did you even know that the chirping crickets are generally male? See, I didn’t. Not until Google told me. Google tells me lots of things. You don’t know half of what Google tells me! Neither do I! That’s why I need Google! And that KRRRIPPING you hear is the sound of me digressing.
But. Back to my virile little cricket. When I heard him, my first thought was OH NO! THE CRICKET IS UPSTAIRS!, followed by my second thought, AN INSECT HAS INVADED THE PRISTINE SANCTITY OF MY KITCHEN!, which was quickly replaced by my third thought, SINCE WHEN HAS MY KITCHEN BEEN PRISTINE?, which then gave way to my fourth thought, SINCE WHEN HAVE I BEEN ALL WUSSY ABOUT INSECTS?, soon to be supplanted by my fifth and final thought: AFTER ALL, I GREW UP IN KIND OF A BUGGY HOUSE. Which was true. Minus the “kind of.” Back in those happy halcyon days on old Lake Waramaug, insects invaded my childhood home on a fairly regular basis.
And not just insects. Animals, too. We used to hear squirrels in the attic, though we never ever ever saw them in the attic because we never ever ever went up there, not once, not in my entire childhood, and don’t bother asking why, because I DON’T KNOW. We also used to hear squirrels in the walls. Sometimes, after they died, we used to smell them in the walls. And not only that: my mother once accidentally threw her dentures into a mouse hole in the kitchen, never to retrieve them. This time, you’re allowed to ask: HOW DOES SOMEONE ACCIDENTALLY THROW DENTURES INTO A MOUSE HOLE? And I am allowed to answer: By losing your grip while scrubbing them clean at the kitchen sink, then lurching after your teeth in an effort to catch them but somehow sadly propelling them across the room at blazing speed.
So. Really. A cricket is no big deal. I welcome him. I speak his language. I Google his nomenclature (the family Gryllidae, and did you know that he chirps more rapidly as the temperature rises?). I sing his song. KRRRIPP.