Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fear of Cockroaches: What Worsened Mine

Okay, I have recovered sufficiently from my previous post Worst Nightmare Cockroach Stories and will today, for my dear readers, relive one more traumatizing cockroach encounter.

Again, if you have a roach phobia, do not read this. Instead, read How to Overcome Fear of Cockroaches.

Cockroaches like dank, dark and dirty places. The home I lived in growing up had plumbing that went from the sink or any drain hole, into the big drain behind the house. Typical of Malaysian homes. Somewhere in the deep dark depths of that plumbing, lived a huge colony of American Cockroaches, Periplaneta americana. How huge? I'll tell you how huge in a future post on this Nightmare series.

The toilet / bathroom on the ground floor had one such drain hole. Malaysian bathrooms are wet bathrooms - taking a shower gets the entire (tiled) floor wet, and the bath water goes down a drain hole.   The drain hole leads to the cockroach colony. At night, which is when cockroaches are active, the critters would creep up the drain pipe, and through the drain hole, and into the toilet / bathroom.

Cockroaches come out from these at night.

I was afraid to use the toilet at night. When I absolutely had to, I used these semi-effective avoidance strategies. First I would turn the light on, without even opening the bathroom door. I would let be a few minutes. Since cockroaches are light-averse, they usually scatter when the light comes on. I would open the door a crack, making sure to look behind the door first, quickly step in, do my business, and get out, hopefully not having encountered any roaches face-to-face. A quick in, do business, out, was all I would hope for. I was usually successful.

Except this one time. I did the usual. Then when I went to sit down on the loo, I felt scratchy legs scurrying up my bare hip. With a wordless scream, not even looking to confirm that it was indeed a cockroach, I pushed it off me with flailing arms. It was a cockroach. It landed smack on the floor, then it made a bee line for the drain hole where it promptly vanished using the 'pendulum maneuver' (reported by the same roach researcher who uncovered the astonishing fact that at high speed, cockroaches run on two legs). Shudder.

Why can I not pee in peace? Tell me Why? At my most vulnerable, with my pants down, this dastardly creature would prey on me. Darn you Cockroach!

After that, I always, always, lifted the toilet seat to check under it, before sitting down. Did I find anymore roaches hiding out under there after that? Yes, occasionally. I am not sure why, but they also like hiding under the rim of the toilet seat. So I check there too. And also all around the bowl. And on the floor too. And the walls (roaches are good wall climbers).

I am so glad I live in PA now. It is cold. The roaches don't overwinter. I haven't seen one (the American cockroach) ever.

Ok, I need a break. I'll be back.


  1. I have had the same experience with them hiding under toilet seats and in the bowl. It is extremely unfortunate. My house is occasionally visited by two Periplaneta species, the dreaded Americana and the equally horrific Fuliginosa. I encounter the latter more frequently, and those encounters are never pleasant. Why do they always pop out at your most vulnerable times? I'm either using the bathroom, taking a shower, or in the bed, and I see it. The brown or black winged monster crawling (sometimes flying) up a wall or across the floor. Have you ever had one land on you or pop out of your clothes? The latter scarred me for life.

    1. Thanks for sharing your awful roach experience - I feel ya! Oh yes I too have experienced roaches flying at me, getting trapped in my hair and crawling all over me all night (on a ferry to Nias Island in Indonesia). Shudder. I fervently pray for a cockroach free world! But that's probably never gonna happen. Sigh


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