The bug man comes by. An older guy, I’d guess almost seventy, skinny, stooped, and gray. I wonder if he’s been an exterminator all his life, or if, like many men in the area, he took it up as a way to earn money after stepping away from some other line of work.
I show him our favorite spider, Mohammed, a yellow garden orb-weaver, perched in the center of a gigantic web. I ask him to spare our spider’s life.
“He’s a big one,” the exterminator says.
“He’s interesting,” I tell him. “And he eats mosquitos.”
“If I don’t spray that wall, you’re going to have problems there.”
Leaving him to his work, I go to my back room to do some writing; but this is a high-maintenance provider of in-home service, one of those men who needs an audience.
“Jenny,” he says, poking his head in, “I just need to show you this one thing.”
He leads me to my back door and shows how the insulation is so worn and dried out that bugs are crawling through. I agree that it’s in bad shape, and return to my computer.
“Jenny.” He pops in again. “Also, come look at this.”
I follow him to my front door where he points out the space at the bottom, a crack of light so big that I’d have to be blind not to know about it.
“You might as well put out a welcome sign for the bugs,” he says dolefully. “And a gap that size’ll let the cold in this winter, too. Tell your husband he can get what he needs at Home Depot.”
“What are you going to do to me if I don’t get these things repaired?” I’m seriously beginning to wonder. He’s looking at me like he’d enjoy punishing me. I get lots of grins and winks here in Marble Falls. There are so many men married to limping heavy old women that when one of them comes across a woman in her fifties who has some energy, they tend to get wishful.
While my question makes him laugh, he also can’t resist sharing his philosophy.
“The relationship between me and my customers is a partnership.” At this point he joins his gnarled hands together in front of his heart, a gesture indicative of deep caring. “I do my part, and it’s up to my customers whether or not they do theirs. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out your weak areas.”
And if there’s one thing I love it’s having my weak areas pointed out.
“But these things you’re asking us to fix are uninspiring,” I tell him. “Also, David never does what I tell him to do.”
David’s off improving his golf game (hopefully). But if he were here he’d agree. He’s not obedient. He likes to choose his own chores. Also, he considers scorpions and wasps to be my purview, while foxes and armadillos are his.
Unexpectedly, David decides to take it on as a mutual project. We're leaving in a few minutes for Home Depot, only the second trip this week. When we come home we'll figure out how to get it done. Then I'll grab a broom and sweep up dead bugs. I've counted six since the bug guy left.