The Fear Factor

“I’d like to get to the place where I can just squish them with my bear hand.”

I shuddered even hearing her talk about wanting to.

Cockroaches, in case you were wondering. She was talking about cockroaches. Apparently they infest the whole campus where she lives and they climb up through the sewage pipes. As if the image of a cockroach on its own wasn’t bad enough.

“I can do it through a plastic bag already. But I think it would be so cool to get to the place where I’m like, ‘Ha! You can’t frighten me, Cockroach. You don’t own me.'”

I’m squeamish and can feel this morning’s lunch threatening to pop up for a quick hello. Flashbacks of past mice infestations race through my mind. Yeesh. And cockroaches! With all the legs and the crunch and the… ugh.

No, Veena, no! My lunch cries to me desperately. I like the stomach, really I do. I want to stay here, hang onto this real estate. Don’t get me wrong, being strewn about your lap is nice, but it just feels so much more like home down here.

I swallow. “Um. Wow. Good for you, Fearless Cockroach Warrior Woman. More power to you.” I don’t even know if my title does her fearlessness justice.

Wouldn’t it be something to not be utterly controlled by a little insect? And yet, how much more comfortable it is to sit in my seat of cowardice and philosophize about the consequences of fear than to actually face up to this particular one. You know, I don’t think the cockroaches want me fearless either. I think they like me just where I am.

But that is the point, isn’t it? They own me.

Well, shoot. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I’m proud to have such a formidable friend.

I, on the other hand, had nightmares about mice that night. Well, maybe someday.

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