This morning I was in the mailroom of my building on campus, making a cup of hot cocoa, when another gentleman entered and asked if lost and found was in there. I replied that it was, the box on the windowsill behind the copier, the sign obscured by the many items already piled inside. He dutifully added his own find, then reported that there was a cockroach living among the lost articles.
Naturally, I was intrigued by the prospect of the roach, and went over to investigate, fully expecting that it had long since fled. I figured it would probably be another brown-banded roach if I saw it at all.
Imagine my shock to find an enormous example of an American cockroach, Periplaneta Americana, nonchalantly exploring the terrain of corduroy and denim.
American roaches are anything but, and some speculate that they are the punishment for our collective sin of slavery, having come over from Africa on ships with human cargo. They are at home here mostly in hot, humid situations, conveniently provided by steam heat, sewers, and similar urban niches.
After snapping a few pictures of this one, I found my mind wandering to the Spyro Gyra instrumental “Lost and Found,” from their album Love & Other Obsessions. Not a bad tune to have in your head. Meanwhile, the roach was last seen wearing a scarf, pair of gloves, and a pretty nice corduroy jacket. Someone is going to miss those.