Treehugger or Not, They Gotta Go

9 12 2010

h a little inspiration from Amber, I started thinking about the things I’m truly afraid of. I don’t like clowns. They really freak me out. But I can deal with it; it’s definitely not on the level of a phobia.

I’m not a fan of heights either. I love looking over the edge of cliffs when hiking, but I typically lay down on my stomach for some sense of safety. As a child at the Memphis Zoo, I was terrified of the alligators in the reptile house because there was a half wall, made of glass and I was afraid I would somehow fall through the glass and the alligators would eat me.

But my one true fear is cockroaches. I just can’t do cockroaches. They scare the hell out of me. They have to die. Anything else gets set outside. I’ve even trapped mice that were in some friends’ apartment one by one and released them into wooded areas. I’m kind of a hippie about that kind of thing. But cockroaches are a whole different story.

I don’t remember ever liking them, but I think they became a phobia around the age of 4-5. I had to take a bath every night and I really enjoyed bath time. I had all kinds of bath toys. My favorite was this set of cubes that had one open side and a small hole opposite. I loved to slap them on the water and make them whistle. Not sure why it entertained me…I guess I’ve always just liked noise. As I sat there one night, making noise and making waves, I looked up at the excess water drain and out crawled a cockroach. I shrieked at the top of my lungs for my mom. I don’t remember why, but she didn’t get there fast enough and I jumped out of the tub and ran, completely naked and soaking wet, down the stairs and to my mom. I was terrified to say the least. Ever since then, I just haven’t been able to handle them.

I remember being 12 or so and coming home after having spent the entire summer at my grandparent’s house. I walked in to my room, threw my stuff down and opened the closet for something. I was looking through the clothes hanging there and pulled one hanger aside to see a slight movement. As I looked closer, a cockroach scurried toward my hand. Again, with the shrieking. I let out the most blood-curdling cry. My mother bolted up the stairs to see what was wrong and I pointed. She doesn’t like cockroaches either, but by no means is she as terrified of them as I am. She killed it for me, made a joke, and headed back downstairs. I felt like a little girl, but it is what it is.

Not too much later, I added another level of fear to my phobia. I walked into the cafeteria at school and there was a huge crowd gathered. I walked up to see what was going on and there in the middle of this throng of people was the biggest cockroach I’ve ever seen in my life. That thing was, at the very least, a good 6 inches long. Everyone else was gawking at it and then something happened that I didn’t even know was possible: it took off in flight. I’m not sure a group of hoodrats has ever run faster in their lives. I was petrified. It took me a solid 3 weeks to be comfortable down there again.

This past summer was one of the worst cockroach summers I’ve ever had. 4 different times I came home late at night, half drunk, and would walk in to a cockroach on the wall of my room. I managed to man up and kill the first 3 without much problem, other than some muted screaming under my break. The second one was one of the flying ones and was one of the worst. But the last ended ne took the cake. That damn thing was quick! I had to pull out my bed, flip stuff over, all at 3 in the morning. I ended up waking my mom up in the process, only to have to explain it was all for a cockroach.

I don’t think this is something I’ll ever get over. I’ve learned not to wail like a banshee, but that’s about all I can do. Even little ones must die. If it resembles a cockroach, it must die. Guilt by association, that’s all I can say.

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