Don’t judge a city by its bugs. Or maybe do?

The thing that is both comforting and terrifying about Houston’s insect scene is that if the bugs are there, they are THERE. That mouse-sized cockroach under the dining room table? Yep, that wasn’t there a second ago – get the Raid. That tarantula charging your shoe on the sidewalk? Can’t miss it – it’s literally the size of your shoe.

Horrifying? Absolutely. Slightly comforting because at least you know that these monsters are literally too big to sneak up on you? Also true.

If I’d grown up in the south, this would probably seem entirely unremarkable to me. But I’m coming here from Chicago, and Chicago bugs have the common sense to keep under the radar. * You could live in a cockroach-infested building for years and never see a cockroach. They’re too smart! Like all self-respecting petty criminals, they wait to strike until you’re sleeping or at work or at Wrigley or staring off into space on the CTA. Chicago bugs are playing the long game. They have to, right? There’s simply too much competition for the habitable spaces.

Texas bugs have literally eaten their competition. They can go wherever they want.

Much as I loathe them, I understand the Chicago bugs. Survival is the name of the game. Hang low, chill out, enjoy a local beer with your buddies, keep the best corners for yourself and your hatchlings, try not to get frozen or stepped on, live your best introvert life. It’s the Texas bugs I don’t understand. Who, with the threat of imminent danger and demise (either from a can of Raid or else just a relatively puny lifespan), goes through their day with that absolute swagger? Who approaches an entity hundreds of times their own size and goes, “Yep. I can take that.”? Who in their own mind is so unbeatable?

The sheer moxie of it almost makes me feel bad for killing them (or ordering a hit on them via Brave Husband) when they come into my house.

Almost. They just really should have swaggered somewhere else.

* The one exception I’ll make to this are the spiders that live under the LSD overpasses in the Uptown/Edgewater area. Those monsters have zero chill.

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