Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Palmetto" Time

It is one of the ironies of living in the South that only on days that are not quite so hot does one have the energy to complain about the heat!

I suspect, on this reasonably mild summer day (87 degrees, sunny, humidity only 49%) that the scorching heat and sluggish humidity of life in Charleston are to blame for certain Low Country perks.

When I first moved back to this area 3 years ago, I encountered--full force--the dreaded mutant species of cockroach the locals euphemistically term "Palmetto Bug". Make no mistake, these monsters certainly deserve a special name, however unprintable it may be.

Two inches long by one inch wide, they drop from the trees in the historic district downtown ("Wow, isn't that a beautiful old mansion? Wait! What IS that crawling on the lovely wrought-iron gate?? Ewww...!"), creep out of your kitchen cabinets, scurry across your bed and skitter over the floor. They fly, too, so help me. It's bad enough that when faced with killing one, you're staring down the LARGEST COCKROACH YOU'VE EVER SEEN, and once you've initiated your plan of attack (spray, swat, whatever works!) the darn thing flies---[1]away so that you've got to spend however long it takes to track it down so you can sleep without fear of it returning; [2]at you so that every inch of your skin crawls in revulsion for days; or [3]in your hair, and I won't even go there! I used to swap stories with other recent newcomers about the terrible **CRUNCH** sound produced by squashing the things. Ugh. The bottom line is this: these bugs are bad news and the people here call them (with or without raised pinkies) "Palmetto Bugs". Pu-lease.

It makes me wonder what other nasty aspects of the area could be re-marketed to sound less negative....
1) Being stuck behind a horrible, snarling, going-nowhere-anytime-soon traffic jam:
"Palmetto Driving"
2) Everyone's late so nothing starts when planned [no doubt due to Palmetto Driving]:
"Palmetto Time"
3) 99 degrees, sun, haze, humidity at 90%:
"Palmetto Summer"
4) South Carolina is last again in nationwide ranking for school test scores:
"Palmetto Education"
5) Swarming, stinging, hydrangea-killing fire ants [found elsewhere, too]:
"Palmetto Ants"

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Yay! I get to comment. I loved this. Heh ... Palmetto bugs = cockroach on steroids.