I've always throught of myself as a fairly outdoorsy person. I like walking, hiking, etc., I love natural surroundings (as opposed to the urban jungle) despite living in Bombay. And I always make it a point to leave my windows open, to commune, as it were, with nature.
But when nature comes through my windows to commune with me, I have a problem. Like last night. Early this morning, actually, about 4:00 a.m. Nature, in the form of a cockroach nymph (I've never figured out why ancient Greek maidens and disgusting, muck-crawling cockroaches that refuse to die are called by the same name) flew into my room and, having explored the rest of my bed, decided to explore my head. Which is when I woke up.
Normally, like most other people, I take some time to wake up. Bits of me wake up and, waiting for the other bits of me to wake up, go back to sleep again - so by the time I get all the bits to be conscious simultaneously, it's normally several minutes past the alarm. But place a cockroach on my head, and I wake up in nano seconds - pico seconds even (I forget which is smaller, but it doesn't matter, as long as you get the gist). In a flash, I'm bolt upright, totally conscious of imminent danger and totally grossed out.
Last night was no exception. It must have taken seconds for me to wake up, sweep the darn thing off my head, cross the room, switch on the light, get the bugspray (the first thing I bought when I moved house) from the kitchen, dust the sheets, find the cockroach and spray it dead, shrieking, "Die, you freak." (I know, after the last paragraph, you're probably thinking, "freak? here's a case of the pot and the kettle." All I can tell you is, you have no idea.)
The worst part of these situations, of course, is the cool-down. The time it takes to get your pulse and heart-rate and breathing down to normal again, the time it takes to go to sleep again, the strength it takes to avoid turning the entire room upside down to search for the brethren of the thing you just killed, or draw a circle of Hit around me, and sit cowering inside.
Then, you tell yourself that it's ridiculous for a woman, the pinnacle of evolution (and I say that advisedly), to cower in front of a cockroach, a remnant from the mesozoic. You're 500 times bigger than the cockroach, you tell yourself. Grow up, you tell yourself. And you feel really proud, getting yourself under control and being OK with OH GOD THERE'S ONE ON MY DESK EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKK.