creepy-crawlies in Hamra ii
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 2, 2007
A recent survey of my apartment found that humans are not the only creatures who enjoy air conditioned interiors in hot weather. As a result, I went to the store this morning in search of some bug powder.
I found a familiar brand – Baygon, part of the Bayer family of companies. (Bayer is one of those incredibly diversified multi-nationals: If bugs are giving you a headache, they have bug sprays and powders. If you have an actual headache, they have aspirin.)
Baygon’s bug products aren’t sold in the United States – the brand was familiar to me for another reason.
Many moons and several generations of global terrorist attacks ago, I worked as a project manager at a boutique design firm in midtown Manhattan. While I was there, my boss and mentor, who I adored, landed a major Baygon redesign.
None of the Americans in our office had heard of Baygon. All of the foreigners – Brits, Norwegians, Australians – had. But we soon learned.
Midway through the project, the company decided to do focus group research on the new design schemes. They chose their … Asian market, rather than the European one on which we had been working, and sent us the “text” to incorporate into the designs.
The text was in Chinese characters, and it was given to us with the characters all in one continuous line. Our designers had no idea which characters were involved in making what words – which was critical as they needed to know where they could make line breaks.
None of us read Chinese, but one little diamond among us was known to order in frequently from a nearby noodle shop.
Mee Noodle Shop is a New York institution, with fragrant little outposts all over the city. In case you should find yourself in New York soon and have a hankering for noodles, here is the menu: meemenu.pdf.
And yes, it is thanks to the kind staff at the Mee near our office that Baygon’s Chinese-speaking customers today have packaging that says “roach and ant powder” rather than, say “ro achanda ntpo wder”.
Back to my current bug adventures.
I sprinkled Baygon’s magic powder hither and yon, in all corners and along the “runways” of my apartment (a rather accurate description of my hallways on days that I am late in leaving for some appointment). The results thus far have been pleasingly effective, although (somewhat less pleasingly) more visible than I had anticipated.
I had assumed that the powder would act as a deterrent, keeping the local cockroaches out of my apartment. Quite the contrary. They all appear eager to emerge from their little hiding places and walk through the powder, which allows them to spend their last wriggling moments on earth in my sight – an intimacy I was well prepared to do without. Since this afternoon, I’ve escorted four to their earthly resting place, and have resigned myself to the likelihood of coming upon more before the day is done. ugh.