<%-- Page Title--%> Perceptions <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 114 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

July 18, 2003

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Roach Ruminations

Shuvo Hussain

Where there's one in the open there are countless more hiding. Nothing you can do will ever get rid of them. You will die, and they'll be here.

It might be a hopeless situation, but I am not one to be victimised by fear. I admit, sometimes when I see a cockroach, I scream like a woman. Not that there's anything wrong with screaming like a girl. Being not a girl, it's just unnatural for me.

Like it's unnatural to fear things that don't trigger the innate human aversion to death. Snakes? Spiders? Yes. Heights? Sure. Small scurrying insects?

An uncle told me that this fear is symbolic of something. I need to figure out what it represents, face it, the cockroach and blah blah blah. He actually said that I should get rid of it SO THAT IT CAN BE REPLACED WITH ANOTHER. While that might not sound logical, correct, relevant or whatever, he said it and I thought about it and it fits well into this rumination of cockroaches.

I can afford to have a fear of cockroaches. It could be much worse. I like to make sure that dates are really dates before I eat them, but I don't become paralyzed at the thought of addressing a crowd. I don't have to wonder if I'll be able to find food come next mealtime. I will remain a sheltered someone with an insignificant fear.

So, I spent some time trying to get to the root of this fear, which turns out, is more like a dislike. It can't be a phobia. I don't hop up on tables or dash out of the room when I see one. I don't mind them at all, really. They are like a quiet family member I don't get along with. We share the same living space, but we stay out of each other's way. And they always leave the room whenever I come in.

But they are more intrusive than a family member could ever be. They go everywhere. So, maybe it's a sanitary issue that makes me dislike cockroaches. I think it's safe to say that they are quite dirty. And I know when I see a cockroach in a room, it could have been anywhere in the room. It could have been getting its dirty feet over everything, wiping its cockroach butt on all my stuff.

The 'scaredy cat' in me is still uncomfortable when he sees a cockroach. Sometimes I can't help but be 'creeped out'. I don't know what it is, their groping antennae, their mysteriously repulsive underside, but everything I touch -- everything that touches me -- turns into a cockroach. The string hanging from my clothing. The random hair tickling my neck. The toothbrush in my hands…

Sometimes I must give death to the cockroach.
But I saw the glory of cockroaches one day while I watched a cockroach flee. It clambered into the crevice of a door and waited there until well after I lost patience. That is determination, and that is beautiful. They are primed to do what they have to, and I have to fight to turn off the television when I know I have something better to do.

That is why I don't like them. I am jealous of their amazing tenacity. They are practically machines when it comes to goal orientation. I don't like to go outside when it's rainy. They will eat decaying matter.

But prosperity isn't all that grand and enviable. They are ruthless. Dishonest. They have no conscience, moral rules, anything other than to fulfill that purpose. I can't do that. Neither would I want to. Where's the love? There's no compassion.

I will never lend money to a cockroach.
I apologise in being fickle about cockroaches, it's just this soft, over-thinking un-cockroach sensibility that I need to disown.

Let's review. I am doomed like the dinosaurs. When we humans kill ourselves and lay waste to the Earth on which we live, the cockroach will crawl out from under the incinerated heap of trash that we will leave behind. And it will be happy, if in fact they can feel such an emotion.

The cockroach, then. Role model. Inspiration. I shouldn't fear the cockroach. I need to embrace the cockroach.
I need to be the cockroach.


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