The Chinese Cockroach

The Chinese Cockroach

Date sent: Mon, 07 Oct 1996
From: Toni Smokler
Organization: University Women's Club

I was married in May of 1991 to a professor of philosophy and for our honeymoon we flew to China; my husband is frugal and he JUST HAPPENED to be giving a few lectures there.

We took lessons in Chinese for six weeks, saw movies and heard stories from his other colleagues of their trips to the China. When my future husband said that we would stay in "Guest Houses" at the different Universities and Institutes I decided to give it the old college try and packed one entire suitcase with cleaning products, disinfectants, toilet seat covers and paper.

The first stop on his lecture tour was Shanghai and true to his word we stayed in a guest house. The weather was hot, but the Magnolia tree in the courtyard was shady and filled with magnificent blossoms the size of dinner plates. Our hosts were gracious and I was prepared to be a good trooper!

We climbed the three floors to our "suite", but I had not expected elevators in China. The dining hall and kitchen were not up to our sanitary conditions, but we were in China and I had expected that. The communal bathrooms were not up to American standards, but we were promised a private bath.

At long last we reached our "suite" and the promise of cold air conditioning had been worth the climb. We entered the "suite" and low and behold the air conditioning was on; I think it was out of what ever makes air conditioning cool, because I could cool myself faster with the fan our hosts given me! At last we were alone and left to explore the premises.

The Ritz Carlton it wasn't! Neither was it the Marriott or the Holiday Inn. About the only resemblance to anything in America was that they left light on for us! As I began to look around I didn't know what to make of the surroundings. Immediately I took to work cleaning up the bathroom. My bridegroom exhausted from the flight immediately fell asleep on the bed and left his bride to tidy up and put everything away.

Later nearly dead from exhaustion, cleaning and the heat I lay down on the top of the other twin bed (I was afraid to look under the bed covers after scrubbing the bathroom) and fell asleep.

In the middle of the night I found it necessary to use the facilities that I had earlier so thoroughly cleaned. We had been warned by my husbands colleagues to wear rubber thongs, at all times, when not wearing our shoes and I slipped mine on as I made for the other room.

As I flipped on the lights I saw to my horror a line of roaches marching across my sparkling clean floor. I screamed an yelled for my new husband. He halfway sat up in the bed, yawned and asked me what my problem was; I told him cockroaches and he gave a look, said he couldn't see anything and promptly fell back asleep.

What I neglected to tell you earlier is that my "Knight in Shining Armor" is "legally blind" and well, perhaps giving him the benefit of the doubt he might not have seen the bugs. Each night for three nights the scenario was repeated, but each night the cockroaches kept betting bigger and BIGGER.

The last night in Shanghai I decided that I would teach him a lesson. While he was at his lecture that afternoon I ventured out on to the street and managed to find a cockroach made of bamboo! I bought it and brought it back to the "Guest House". I hid it under the bed and when he fell asleep that night (the bridegroom under the covers and the bride still huddled on the bedspread) I neatly laid out the bamboo cockroach.

I screamed and told him that the bugs were growing out of proportions and that we had better evacuate. I stepped aside just long enough for him, in his sleepy condition, to catch a glimpse of that bamboo cockroach. I blocked his view for just long enough to kick it, unseen, under a convenient table and ran swiftly to my bed screaming.

Peeking out the corner of my eye I saw my hero turn white, make a double take and run crashing and banging into the bathroom one hand holding his shoe and in the other a rolled up magazine ready for battle. After about two or three minutes I could not hold back my laughter and started to roar.

With a quizzical look on his face he turned and saw me holding up that bamboo cockroach and joined me in my fun. To this day we still have that bamboo cockroach and every once in a while one of us will put him in the bathroom and the two of us will burst out laughing!

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