I have a housemate called Lenny.
I don’t know when he moved in. He lives in the bathroom. I noticed him for the first time the other day. I opened the door, turned on the light, and there he was.
“Oh.” I said. “Hi.”
He froze, then ran for cover. He hid in the corner while I brushed my teeth. We watched each other warily. Well, I watched him warily. I can only assume he was watching me too. In reality, his eyes are far too small for me to know exactly where he was looking.
You see, Lenny is a silverfish*.
Since discovering him in my bathroom, I’ve done some investigating. Lenny appears to be a bachelor, and he’s fully grown which confuses me because I have never seen him before. Either he has always lived in my bathroom and I never knew, or he recently moved in without consulting me on the matter.
That first night, I spent an abnormal amount of time in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking about silverfish viewing apartments. I imagined Lenny strolling onto the tiled floor with an attractive silverfish realtor, listening to her as she explained the pros and cons.
“So this bathroom is frequented by two adult humans. I know you were probably hoping for more in terms of dandruff or hair, but then we’d really want to be looking at an elderly human’s bathroom and that would really strain your budget. I think this is a good compromise. Now, the only thing is that as you can see, they’ve recently installed a more powerful fan in the ceiling, which is going to cut down on humidity significantly. On the plus side this will make the price more negotiable. Also there is quite a lot of plaster to feast on and they sometimes leave books there on the countertop, so that is quite the perk….”
I googled silverfish to find out more about Lenny. Apparently almost everyone has a silverfish housemate. One or two are expected in rooms with high humidity. One website recommends overlooking their presence before adding, “If you have an infestation however, you may want to call pest control.”
…I think if I have an infestation I may want to move out, but that’s just me.
They’re very small and they eat plaster and book bindings and glue and hair. They don’t bite or spread disease, or even do much damage.
Oh, and they can live up to eight years.
According to the fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia, the predecessors of silverfish are considered the earliest, most primitive insects. I can well believe this, since Lenny looks like he recently scuttled off a seabed from the Cambrian period. They can’t climb vertical surfaces. They are nocturnal. Also, as long as they have access to water they can live without food for more than a year.
What the hell, Lenny? What kind of a mutant fossil are you?
I don’t want to hurt Lenny. I don’t even really want to evict him. I will, however, be keeping a close eye on him. If he starts inviting over other silverfish to netflix and chill, or having silverfish parties until 5am, we may have to re-examine things. For the moment though, I’m happy to cohabitate.
As long as Lenny stays in his corner, we’ll be fine.
*Don’t google him, he’s not pretty.