Saturday, June 13, 2009

la cucaracha, la cucaracha, ya no puede caminar

We've all got phobias. Whether it be a wide-eyed china doll whose gaze always seems to follow you or the creepy clown/weather man on channel six, in some fashion everyone has that one thing that upon seeing it immediately causes a TIA.

That thing that gets my amygdala going is the forsaken cockroach. Even as I write this, I'm controlling my gag reflex and trying to keep the instant stress headache at bay. I truly hate the bugs from the underworld.

As an example, when I was in high school I remember one night I was taking a shower and as I stepped out I saw two evil ones staring at me from the counter. Well tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum were much smarter than their names imply, for they knew I was terrified of them. They could sense it. Frozen in my place, with barely a towel, I screamed for my father. He, thinking someone was attacking me, ran up the stairs to find me in my statuesque Venus de Milo pose, and that's when it happened. The little buggers FLEW AT ME! I, of course, ran down the stairs and exited my house, all the while screaming with nothing but my tiny towel on. Let's just say I was the entertainment for the neighbours that night.

My story brings me to last week. I just moved to Reading, PA to finish up my very last preceptorship, and the hospital provides housing for the students in one of their older buildings. I, wanting to save a penny while substantially increasing the amount of nap time I'd get from cutting out a commute, concede to the plan. First week no problems. Second week, I get a new roommate who is a med student from PCOM. Well, make that two new mates. The second came two nights after the first moved in. Sitting in my chair, studying the night away, I see something in my periphery, and low and behold there aroseth from the fiery depths the spawn of Satan himself crawling up my wall.

Again, I'm frozen in my place. Yet, this time the rational part of my brain kicks in, and I actually start to move for the shoe resting next to my foot. And then the dance begins.

Sensing danger, the roach freezes from his course, and I immediately follow suit. Barely breathing, I hold my position till he pushes on. For the second time, I slowly reach for the shoe, and now have it in my grasp and start to slothfully stand. He stops. and I. He starts up again, and here I gather all my strength to move into striking position. I work up the nerve to get mere feet from the bug, and start to swing, when the power of his stare completely deflates my attack attempt, and I gutlessly swing to make direct contact with the wall a good foot away from the target. And that's when he flew at me. F.L.E.W. A.T. M.E.

Oh no you didn't. I'd like to note here I did not scream, but rather doubled my efforts to attack by taking one last pitiful swing before fleeing the room.

And that's when I walked down the hall to get the toughest guy I knew on the floor, Al. He once was a football player for the Miami Dolphins who now happens to be the Chaplin for the hospital (I know, talk about career change). I needed the power of God on my side. Well, he and his friend come down to discover for themselves that the fourth sign of the Apocalypse just arrived in Reading.

They walk in, the bug immediately kamikazes Al, and I'm not even kidding, the two literally dive for cover. The bug makes a bee line for my closet, and the boys quickly recover and take action by digging out my luggage and laundry on the closet floor to see the roach crawl into a crack in the corner.

HE'S LIVING IN MY CLOSET. Well, I should say the wall between my closet and my pansy med student neighbour who didn't have the guts to open his closet door to see where the roach had gone.

Let the nightmares begin.