My ridiculous fear

The cockroach that turned Anna and I into pathetic, screeching school girls.

The cockroach that turned Anna and I into pathetic, screeching school girls.

“La Cucaracha”

Last spring, when in Nicaragua, Anna and I found ourselves in a new city; exhausted from a bumpy, (and hungover) journey, and several nights of little sleep. Too tired to think clearly, we let one of the “tourist-predators” lurching at the bus stop talk us into checking out “a really nice nearby hostel” he knew about.

All we could think about was taking a shower and finding food, so we followed. We should’ve taken the hint, after wandering into a bustling market area (pungent fish/rotting meat & produce odors galore) to a run down guest house attached to a pharmacy. In we went. I believe it was around $7, for our own room with two beds and a “private” bathroom (not overly private when the toilet and shower are in the same room as the beds, separated by nothing but a curtain–but we weren’t concerned at the time)…

Come nightfall, we decide to hit the hay early. While organizing our bags and partaking in normal night time routines, out of the corner of my eye, we notice something scurrying across the floor. It shouldn’t be difficult to guess what it was. We immediately begin screeching and whining, and somewhat irrationally devising plans. Can we shoo it out the door? Is it too late to pack up our shit and bail? Can we kill it? “I don’t wanna kill it!” …”I don’t either!” Anna decided to try to grab one of the Canadians she saw sitting on the balcony, and see if anyone of them would kill it for us.
Pathetic… I know. But we we inexperienced in dealing with roaches.I stayed in the room to make sure the cockroach didn’t misbehave (I don’t know–climb in our bag, bed, shoes!??). I watched the roach disappear into a hole in the wall near the sink. At that moment, the hostel night watchman (who was appropriately dressed in head to to camouflage?) came in to see what all the fuss was about. He spoke not a lick of English–and I, not a lick of Spanish, so I flailed my arms around, creating my own sign language. He was kind enough to search our room–with no sign of La Cucharaca, he left; no doubt thinking we were a bunch of crazy gringas. Needless to say, we slept uneasily that night.

I don’t have many things that really, truly freak me out. I can watch an incredibly gory horror movie without flinching or shielding my eyes. Spiders, snakes, rats–no biggie.

Cockroaches, however, give me a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

Not sure why a mostly harmless insect could provoke such a visceral adverse reaction. Maybe it’s the fact that they are almost non existent in Wisconsin, so I’ve never really had a reason to worry about them much; let alone need to overcome the fear.

Until now that is.

Now, see, I’ve accepted the fact that cockroaches will likely become a somewhat regular nuisance while traveling through Latin America. Staying in less than fancy hostels and guesthouses won’t help that situation. I’ll even be traveling through parts of the world where the roaches are of an “abnormally large” size, and, get this, FLY! Try sleeping when you fear there may be cockroaches FLYING around your dark room. AHHH!

It has become a goal of mine to overcome this fear. I refuse to be a person who lets  irrational fears dictate their thoughts–or interrupt their sleep. I don’t anticipate this will be easy. But you will definitely find me writing more on this topic in the future…

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