I was walking through the hallway of a local high school where I sometimes substitute teacher, and encountered a teaching standing in the hallway holding a small spray bottle in her hand and staring into a trash can.
“I’m trying to kill a cockroach with essential oils,” she said. She gave it another squirt. “Or at least make it drunk enough that I can step on it and it won’t crawl up my leg.”
“You need a cat,” I commented. My cats make short work of any kinds of varmints that they find.
The teacher continued to stare at the cockroach, giving it an occasional squirt of the essential oils. “We are out in the country. Well, we aren’t in the city. What is a cockroach doing here?”
The encounter made me think about how we react when we find something in an unexpected place. The teacher thought that cockroaches belonged in the city. It surprised me to see someone spraying a cockroach with scented spray. Somehow a discovery like this jolts us out of our everyday routine and forces us to think in a new way, at least for a moment. This is a valuable experience for writers in particular, but it works for anyone. We all need to be prodded every once in a while to just look at life and laugh or cry, or both.
As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”