Friday, April 27, 2012

A debilitating fear of mine

Sorry for yet another epic lapse in posting, dear readers. I've been on vacation and, thus, doing no work. I find I write my best posts when I'm procrastinating. I will get back to my Dublin posts soon, but I thought I'd take a moment to share a bit about myself.

I hate roaches.

I'm fairly certain that nobody really likes roaches (except maybe this one guy at the Edinburgh Zoo or the weird kid everyone went to middle school with [apologies if you were that kid]), but I have to admit that I am utterly terrified of them. It's probably not wise to reveal my weaknesses on the Internet. It's like if Superman had a blog and wrote a post about how much he hated kryptonite. But something happened to me the other night, and it was too good a story not to relate.

I was in the shower, about to get out, when I notice movement on the right-most edge of my shower door. Take a moment to enjoy, below, an exclusive video of the inside of my shower so that you can understand the spacial arrangement of my story. I look closer and notice, to my horror, a roach crawling around on the glass. At this point, I'm safe because the exit from my shower is on the left, and the horrible creature is outside the glass. I decide to make a break for it, at the same moment that he decides to start crawling over to the left side of the glass.

I freeze, hoping he will stop and allow me to hurry out, but no such luck. The cockroach crawls all the way over to the left-most edge, effectively trapping me inside my shower. I can get out the other side, but he's also right by the door, so I will have to pass him to escape. I'm contemplating all this when the unthinkable happens: I look, and I can't see the cockroach. He's disappeared, either above me, where he could fall down on my head, or out of my shower area into the bathroom proper, where he could be lying in wait.

And it was at this moment that I realized, perhaps for the first time in my life, how utterly, completely, irrationally afraid of cockroaches I am. I am frozen in fear at having to open my bathroom door and possibly encounter a bug.

Luckily, I brought my phone into the shower room that night so I could listen to some sweet jams whilst I bathed. So I did what any normal person would do: I called my dad, who was in the living room, to come in and deal with the roach. And good thing, too! My dad arrived just in time to find the roach escaping my bathroom and entering MY BEDROOM. Still cowering in my shower, I hear sounds of roach spray and then my dad's called assurances that he got it. Much relieved, I emerged at last from my glass prison.

Only later did I stop to analyze the source of this totally irrational fear, and I came up with two pretty decent reasons why I'm afraid of cockroaches.

The first is a game my mother and I used to play when I was little. I say "game," but it was more like a battle. She would pretend that her hand was a bug crawling up my arm. I would then smack it to determine if the "bug" was a spider or a roach. I always prayed it would be a spider. Because a "spider" would immediately flop on its back and curl up, dead. Smacking a "roach," on the other hand, resulted in the hand-bug scurrying all over me and then hiding in my armpit. I would have to smack a roach several more times before it "died." It was essentially tickling with an added element of play-fighting. It was meant to be fun (and it was, mostly), and my mom hoped to teach me about different bugs. What it taught me was that roaches don't die; they scurry all over your body and then hide in your armpit. Horrifying.

This early training to fear roaches was reinforced when I was ten or eleven and a friend and I were swimming at my grandparents' house. My grandparents had an indoor pool with a rec-room right off it. Generally, after a swim, I would bathe in the guest room shower, but this particular day, I thought it would be fun to use the rec-room shower, which I had never used. (I loved novelty as a child, often choosing to spend several night in a row sleeping on the couch, simply for a change of pace.) Still clad in our bathing suits, my friend and I hopped in the shower to rinse off. Everything was going fine until I felt something on my leg. I looked down to see no less than a dozen huge roaches coming out of the drain and up our legs. The shower had been out of use for so long that they had clearly nested down there, and the hot water brought them out. Needless to say, I was mortified, and I guess I've never really recovered.

So there you have it, dear reader. Perhaps my greatest fear. Please don't try to use it against me.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dublin: Part 1: Housing Adventure

My friend Sabrina and I decided to book our trip to Dublin in November of last year. Four of our friends had already booked two months prior and obtained a private four-person room in a hostel. By the time Sabrina and I booked, however, there were either no hostels available for Saturday night (March 17) or they were available for an exorbitant price. Because I have a blog devoted to adventure (and because I'm cheap), Sabrina and I decided not to book a room for that night and have the "adventure" of being homeless in Dublin. Sounds like a great plan, right?

Well, as our trip got closer, the plan began to seem less and less great. Because, the truth, dear reader, is that despite my love of adventure, I don't love putting my life at risk. It's is a fine line! The more I thought about it, the more nervous I got. In order to combat my anxiety, I made extensive plans regarding where we could spend our evening (i.e. clubs, all-night diners, Wal-marts?), and I packed in such a way that I could travel around the city all night, unencumbered by my luggage. Despite these precautions, on March 16, the Friday of our departure, I suddenly realized that being murdered in Dublin might be a very real possibility if I didn't find a place to sleep. And on a simply pragmatic level, it occurred to me that staying up all night on St. Patrick's Day would not be conducive to productive site-seeing on Sunday.

And so it was that I begged Sabrina to let me book us a room. Being a good friend, she authorized me to book whatever I could find, regardless of the price, so I bit the bullet and found a hostel with two beds at £60 per person for the night. I pulled out my credit card and was keying in my card number when... my phone rang! I halted my typing because my caller ID showed the name of one of my friends who was already in Dublin. What could this be? I thought. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: Hello?
Friend: Hey, how would you like a place to sleep tomorrow night?
Me: Uhhhh, I would LOVE a place to sleep tomorrow night! Whatcha got?
Friend: So, it turns out, the private 4-person room we booked is actually a 6-person room. Thanks to a mix-up at the hostel, those 2 extra beds aren't booked for tomorrow night, and the hostel said you guys can have them for £25 each.
Me: AHHHHH!!! (drops phone, passes out from joy)

Ok, that last bit might have happened internally, but I'm sure you can imagine. I was overjoyed and immediately took him up on the offer. So we got to Dublin and had a great stay in a lovely hostel.

But that's not quite the whole story. The morning of the 17th, I went to check with the front desk to make sure there was no problem with us moving into the room and to check in. The woman working at the desk said it was fine and that we could go ahead and move our stuff in (since the other people in there were our friends) but that we couldn't technically check in until after 2. Then she thought for a moment, turned to her co-worker, explained to him the situation, and then said, "Do they have to pay?" The man paused, thought, and said, "Nah, it's Paddy's Day!"

It was a St. Patrick's Day miracle! So there you go, dear reader. If you don't plan ahead by booking a hostel for St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, everything will work out and you'll get a free room. On second thought, that may not be the lesson to take away from this. Let's just say the lesson is stick with me because I'm super lucky. Ooh! Maybe it's... the Luck of the Hapless American. That's a thing, right?