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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Oh, It’s Nothing! Just Flying Cockroaches



I think one of the worst ways to end a great weekend is for a strange cat to crawl into your house through the kitchen window. To make matters worse, it starts traipsing around the rooms while you try to chase it out. Oh, that’s not even the worst part; the worst part is that you have a morbid fear of cats.

For a few weeks now, my friend, Rose, has been complaining about strange cats playing around in her garden and outside her garage. We laughed at her and joked about how Nigerians associated cats with witchcraft. She thought of running one of them over with her car but she was cautioned about nosey neighbours and the RSPCA. Someone even suggested lacing a bowl of milk with poison and setting it in the garden. All these Jackie Chan moves…just to eliminate a trespassing cat! But it was all light fun and games till one of the cats entered the house yesterday.

She said she screamed so loud when she heard the ‘meow’ of a cat inside. She spent the rest of the evening in an uncomfortably jumpy state, terrified of the cat poking its head around from wherever it was now hiding. After teasing her endlessly with constant ‘meows’, I engaged my sympathy bone, because I understand what it is to be terrified of an animal/insect. A morbid fear, actually.

My secondary school was swarming with bees. In fact, it was so bad that our school anthem, and school motto and theme were ALL about “The Honey Bee”. The last block of classrooms that housed the JS3 classes was particularly bad. It was a miracle that I passed my JSS exams  because before having to stay there to be taught everyday was hell. Before someone shouts “Oyin” (In Ilorin, we spoke Yoruba), I had fled as fast as these my two short stumps could carry me. Everybody RAN! Why was it so frequent? Because there was always one silly person who would try to poke the nest and those things would come down in droves! Everywhere you went there was someone sportng a swollen body part from a bee sting. There was a boy who actually had naturally thick lips, then he got stung on the lips. He was the butt of all lippy related jokes! As a result, I never really hung around to be caught. At the first sound of “Oyin ti…”

My fear of bees has sadly extended to cockroaches, those flying ones. It’s bad enough that we see cockroaches… why are they FLYING? I get that they have wings, but boy do they give me the heebie-jeebies! The release of the movie, Joe’s Apartment did nothing to ease my fear of cockroaches – of the flying variety especially. Singing cockroaches? *skin crawl*

For some people the fears are irrational and unfounded – but they just can’t stand or abide some animals and or insects. My friend, Aina, is terrified of rats – dead or alive. If there’s a rat on her rat gum trap, please believe that she isn’t going to stay in that room until the DEAD rat is evacuated. It’s hilarious to watch. One time there was NOBODY around and the trapped rat was squealing away on the pad, she called me to ask if I could dash down to her house urgently. I said, “Why? Did something happen?”. Her response: “There’s a rat on the rat gum and I haven’t picked out what to wear to work tomorrow”. All the way… just to come and remove a dying rat.

For some people it’s scorpions, for others it’s spiders. Ah! Spiders… *shudders*

Someone noted that there’s a difference between the acute fear of these insects/animals AND a despise for them. So for some people they don’t have a fear of dogs, or cats, they just don’t like seeing them. Sometimes, I watch episodes of Come Dine With Me and the host has his/her cat jumping on the table- and I’m cringing in my house. Why is your cat leaving hair all over where my food will be? URGH?!  I am not scared of cats; no, not even if they look like that cat in that NTA TV show from the 90s ‘Lynx’; no, not even if their eyes glint blue, green or purple. However, I’m not sure I want cat hair sticking all over everything around me.

So, I guess there different levels of heebie-jeebies. Because, if I see a flying cockroach now, I am almost sure I’ll call in a HAZMAT team.

Have a fantastic week guys! Look, is that August I see out in the horizon? Goodness gracious, has this year flown by or what?

I’ll leave you with a video of scenes from Joe’s Apartment! Just so you can feel my *urghhh*. Don’t forget to share what creeps you out, and what terrifies you.

Go forth and take the world!

Peace, love & celery sticks (‘Cause cupcakes are not FitFam compliant!)


Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Roi Brooks

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Emma

    July 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I hate cockroaches…
    especially since the night one finds it way inside my right ear in my auntie house in the middle of the night.(that’s an experience i do not wish on my enemy)
    Have an awesome week Atoke of Life!!!

    • slice

      July 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

      use combat for roaches and you will thank me forever 🙂

  2. mimi

    July 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

    For me, it’s dogs. I have a morbid fear of dogs. Sometimes, these fear/phobia is borne out of childhood experiences as in my case and that of my friend. For me, I was chased by a neighbors alsatian dogs when I was about 5. We had gone visiting and as we pressed the door bell, the fierce looking dogs charged towards us and I ran so fast that I jumped into a moving pick up. More terrifying was the fact hat I wasn’t sure where the pick up was going neither did the driver realize there was someone in there at the back. Luckily, I was smart enough to hit the window and the driver stopped and we began the harrowing task of trying to find my parents. Let’s just say since then, I always kept my distance from dogs which is really hard to do in a western country.
    My friend has a terrible fear of chickens. It’s so bad she does not go to the markets in Nigeria or would usually drive/take a bike for ridiculously short distances just to avoid chickens. Why? When she was young, she was locked in with a chicken in a dark wardrobe by an evil cousin which she had told on. She was there for hours and the chicken kept flying over her and gave her scratches. These days, my friend who is about 30, fears chickens more than snakes. Her reaction to chickens is hilarious and crazy but I really feel sad for her.

    • Ayaba

      July 29, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Does she eat chicken? hehehehe

  3. maguire

    July 28, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I can relate to the post. I just hate seeing cats maybe because it has been ingrained in us as witchcraft from the word go! Nice one Atoke. Boarding school must had been fun.

  4. tbn

    July 28, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Ewwwww…[email protected] the singing roaches. I also hate those flying cockroaches and the worst part is when you summon enough courage to squash them, the stench is unbearable! ewww again. I also HATE wall geckos called “omo ile” in yoruba. They give me the heebie jeebies, and they said its not good to kill them, so most of the time when i see them we will stare at each other while looking for the next exit out of the room. I also hate rats! There was a big rat that somehow found its way into my kitchen, ha! whenever i saw it running around, I took to my heels out of the kitchen!

  5. faith

    July 28, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I hate anything that crawls especially worms n snake….

    • Plush

      July 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Aunty, where have you been?!

  6. fifi

    July 28, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Definitely flying cockroach and those monster rats that are now all around lagos…oh how can I forget bats,to me all are agents of the evil

  7. mrs chidukane

    July 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I hate every crawling thing especially flying cockroaches. I must kill them wherever I see them. OAN Atoke can’t believe you saw that NTA show Lynx. Horrible and extremely scary,the soundtrack used to have me scurrying to my room wishing I was deaf. Also willie willie for those people that grew up in Aba. So many scary sitcoms in the 90s. There was this one that showed a man in chains screaming and all *shivers* Have a great week everyone, xoxo

  8. Abi

    July 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I remember last year when a cat came into the flat through the kitchen window I left open after cooking a pot of egusi soup. I was going to the toilet when i saw the eyes on the dark corridor. I dashed back into the living room and called DH who was still about 20min away from home. I was screaming and jumping on all the sofas all at the same time. Hubby followed me everywhere that night….toilet,kitchen,everywhere. I’m glad we have moved now but guess what, another cat was waiting for me in the new house. This one even comes into my garden to play. I’m beginning to think these cats have an association for me.

  9. Babytohcute

    July 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I love cats. Hugs to all the cats out there! Okay, I HATE lizards. Hey! I fit craze. No, I can’t stand them and the cold blooded animals – reptiles. Why can’t they be extinct. Likely seriously, what’s their contribution to this world 🙁

    • Lady Mo!

      July 28, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Babytohcute, we share the same fear. I HATE lizards too. the way they just move around nodding up n down. The agama is the worst of them all with its saggy throat abi wetin dem dey call am. Chei! I get goose pimples just seeing them! irky tinz!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 28, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Yeah, I grew up with a love for cats too. I’ve become a little more apprehensive of them when I read somewhere that tehy’re basically hunters and would eat humans if they were bigger than us.

      Incidentally and as a sidebar, one of my colleagues had to be excused from work today on compassionate leave because her cat died over the weekend. I felt sorry to hear she’d lost (someone? something?) she’d cared a lot for but a part of me always remains wonderous about how different this oyibo culture is from ours…

    • Ayaba

      July 29, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Yeah me too!! the thg don wonder be to infinity….ei di still wonder me. A colleague who had quit smoking for a good number of months oooh!!! returned from work one day and noticed her dogs had been stung by bees, one died and one was taken to the veterinary. she was so stressed out that she started smoking again…well so she said. then the way they talk to their cats and dogs??? “ooh booboo, my little pookie” etc. haba!! i tire!! i am not sure i will ever comprehend this.

  10. Busola

    July 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

    For the life of me, I hate chickens…. When I I was in Nigeria, I ran anytime I see chickens… Plus, they are so annoying too. I can’t stand dogs, Lizards, rats and houseflies either. I am grateful I don’t have to deal so much with these phobias anymore (apart from dogs) Thankfully the dogs here must be on leads.

  11. mac

    July 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

    If my fear for rats were to be measured on a wide range “ratometer” i’d be tipping the scale off at the upper limits!!! I hate rats!!! dead or alive, grandpa or junior. Have never touched one and never (consciously) will. I once slept in the bathroom cos of them. I have had to cross a 4-lane road cos of one. I can’t take out a dead one. But recently,I had my first victory dance. I killed my first rat!!! it was very little and very pink and looked like it was still learning to walk. awwww poor baby… I went after it with shoes, sandals, brushes, sticks…whatever I could grab… of course I threw all these from afar. and then I took a picture *memento things* with a 5x optical zoom camera cos I still cdnt get close. 🙂

  12. rowena

    July 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I used to hate cockroaches and snakes until I met this oyinbo who was rearing them for research purposes, ,, as he said.imagine two huge glass boxes filled with them.i also feared owls until I moved to europe where I see them won as fashion jewellery and used in home decor both inside and outside.i dont know where the phobia disappeared to.that said I abhor chameleons.

  13. Mo

    July 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I hate/fear anything that breathes and is not human.
    I should be ashamed saying this, I know.
    But truth is, if it breathes and is not human, its a NO for me.

    • Owelle

      August 1, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Same for me. I do like cats from afar tho. They take a step towards me and I’ve taken a hundred in the opposite direction

    • Chichi

      August 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm


    • beautifulonyinye

      August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      You just spoke my thoughts.If it’s breathing and it’s not human,I just can’t deal.

  14. Pinkpaws

    July 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I don’t like cats as well. I like dogs however because I believe they are useful. I don’t know what cats are useful for, they sleep, stare and creep about. So annoying. But what gets to me the most are those slimy things; leeches, worms etc oh my God! My skin crawls just typing this. They are everywhere during autumn in the UK. Don’t like flying cockroaches, like I get scared seeing them. One of the reasons am glad am not in Nigeria anymore and don’t get me started on those rats. Big scary with just skin cos they are soooo fat, their fur has fallen off…Ewwww
    Have a FAB week guys.xx

  15. Bee

    July 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I absolutely hate lizards. Always have, and probably always will. I remember when I was asked to draw one in Biology class and everyone was given a ‘specimen’ ( I made sure I played InvisibleMan till they ran out of lizard/specimens. I didn’t want one, my memory served me well, thank you!). A classmate stashed hers away and brought it back to the dormitory to torment poor beings like me. Omo!!!!! See me taking giant leaps over bunks! (chai! Superman got nothing on me that day!) I cried and screamed like a banshee. Kai!!!!! I hate lizards!

  16. Fabulicious

    July 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    A dog bit me a day to Christmas long time ago.Till today,I still thank God for my life.Its so long that a child born then would have been a university graduate but I just don’t care.I never visit someone who has dogs whether you used titanium chain or brick kernel,Once I hear a bark on the street.I will never take that road again(believe me).After I got married,my dad bought one.When I told him that I won’t visiting rather we would be talking on phone,he taught it was a joke and had to do away with it.Right now if I see someone who is willing to open a restaurant that specializes in dog meat.I will support your business.Shikena.

    • Ashley

      September 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      …. lmao @dog meat

  17. Fabulicious

    July 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    *won’t be visiting*

  18. ij

    July 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Foxes scare me to death

  19. Busola

    July 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    For me it’s wall gecko.I actually found a big one in my room like two Sundays ago while watching Tv in the living room,I just spotted the wall gecko in my bedroom close to my bed.i had to use insecticide,almost finished a can to the extent that staying in the living room with d smell was now too much for me.I had to cover my nose and also block under the door so the smell would not kill me in the living room..I had to sleep in the living room on the sofa which was very uncomforble for me.Following morning,I didn’t see the gecko again but after two days I started smelling something really bad.I had to turn my room upside down looking for a dead gecko but didn’t see it.Sleeping in my room became impossible,I didn’t see the dead gecko until after like a week with the help of my friend and her housekeeper,we found it glued to a corner.I was so relieved that I could go back to sleeping in my room.

  20. el patron

    July 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    me and my brother are constantly praying for my neighbors all black giant cat to sneak into our garage so that we can do just justice to it.. once and for all.. it will just not stay in its house, turning underneath my deck to its residence.. the day it enters my garage thus its end.

  21. deevagal

    July 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    i despise cockroaches but i aint scared of them. would flit their lives with immediate alacrity. brown disgusting insects. however, rats, hmmm…. im terrified of them. if i didnt know better, il think u were describing me as the friend above. i once had a rat stuck on the gum, had to call my bestie to rescue me. i cant shout. i hate rats, they are disgusting, they frighten me, always sneaking up on you and running off before u say jack robbinson. they are so slimey and they smell. kai. i hate rats and i hate that they scare me so easily.
    i also despise wall geckos. talk about ugly and slimey. gosh. what exactly is their purpose? and they so so difficult to get rid of. i love when the rat gum catches both a rat and a gecko. double whammy!!! 😀

  22. zoomzoomzoom

    July 28, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I hate snakes with a passion.

  23. dee

    July 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Atoke you went to USS tell me your name na.hehehe.i can keep a secret.What set were you?

  24. Feyi's Dairy

    July 28, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Cockroaches terrify me!!!Especially the flying ones ewwwwwww
    We had cockroaches in the bathroom when I was in secondary school and I had to wake up my school daughter to accompany me each time I had to pee at night.
    I can’t even sweep up a dead cockroach not to talk of killing one, that’s how bad it is.

  25. Bumzie

    July 29, 2014 at 12:09 am

    You obviously went to USS!!! The sights of bees was the beginning of wisdom. Reading this column brought back good old memories. Keep up the good job !!

  26. Oppy

    July 29, 2014 at 4:43 am

    I have an unexplained fear of flapping wings. I am fine around birds, chicken, turkey , anything that flies as long as their wings are tucked in. The moment they start flapping or trying to fly, i duck (no pun) down to the ground as if i was in a war zone… or hightail out of there if i found an escape route… and i am what some people will refer to as a “grown man”. i laugh at myself. feel free to join me. lmao

  27. Ayaba

    July 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I tell you Atoke!!! the year has flown too fast. i am happy though cos next yr is a big yr for me by the special grace of God. Can’t wait for it to come.
    Ehe!! About what creeps me out, cats, snakes. But Snakes take the cake (little bit for rhyming there hehehe). i can’t look at a snake whether fake or real. If i mistakenly lay eyes on one eh, the scream i will unleash will cause the devil to panick. Snakes!!! yrrrrr

  28. adanne

    July 29, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I hate dogs. I’m so scared of them. Just like someone said earlier, one’s experience as a child may cause this. I once went to a friend’s house(her uncle’s actually) to do my assignment on a faithful Friday on the 9th of May 1997 and when I was ready to leave (when her aunt came home) the maid asked the driver who was just getting familiar with the dogs to walk me out. Of course the dogs no fear the man na so as we got to the door, all six dogs attacked me on one leg. I was just screaming and just thinking about it, I can’t remember why I couldn’t run back inside. The driver just kept saying to he dogs “move, move”. My dad literally shed tears that day while mumsy couldn’t hold back crying. I still have the scars till date. Since then, I’ve been so scared of dogs.

  29. D

    July 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Reading this made me realize I have many phobias. I hate reptiles and yes I will cross the road to avoid walking past a lizard. But when i was younger you know people cage their chickens. I went to a family friend’s house and they had chickens caged as i was walking by someone decided it was time for their daily exercise (they let them out once a day) . One of the chickens came flying directly to my face and the last thing i felt before i went ballistic was claws on my face. My face was bloodied got scratched by this idiotic chicken. Since then the only place I would like to meet a chicken is either on my plate or the freezer section at the grocery store.

  30. elsa

    July 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    All roaches…crawling o, flying o, singing? I hate them all! Why, oh why do they have to exist?! I hate all creepy-crawling insects too. Saw a very large earthworm, as big as a little snake, crawling into my bathroom one day, i took off to go get my salt container…almost emptied the thing on it. And centipede?! Argh! Kill ’em all!!

  31. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    July 30, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    If you see anyone cloaked in a big shawl, framing the face and draping the body,held together by one hand directly under the chin; the other hand raised high, holding a Dunlop slipper, the eyes terribly focused and the lips peeled back to emit the sound of war, racing wildly towards an unsuspecting cockroach, that would be me.

    • mrs chidukane

      August 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm


  32. olufemi olaleye

    August 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    For me, it’s chicken. When i was younger, in my effort to prove am a man, i tried to kill a chicken, unfortunately i didn’t cut the throat totally. The chicken flapped it wings and got out of my feet and pursued me with her last breath around the compound, i ran screaming mummy mummy like it was death pursuing me *cover face*. Since that day i haven’t attempted to kill a chicken.
    Am also scared of mother-hens because i had a bad experience with that too when i was younger. But that is a story for another day *smiles*

  33. MO

    August 6, 2014 at 6:47 am

    My roomie back in Uni wouldn’t let me breathe whenever she spotted a cockroach in the room. She would *chewing gum* me like a child does it’s mother, she’s got the type A fear of the thing so much that she would sacrifice her nightly bath for fear of being left alone with them flying roaches in the bathroom not knowing when it would land on her back. She’s got Kasaridophobia written everywhere, as if it were something to brag about. Anyway, I always did get my fill of laughter and some mischief(because at that point roomie would agree to scrubbing the entire house just so you could help her get rid of the flying insect) whenever she throws those hysterical fits.
    Atoke, love your banters, you’ve got a fan in me.

  34. Chichi

    August 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    i dont mind chickens but those “agric’ ones that are too fat to run when you try to chase them or walk past them…that shii scares me silly yo!

  35. Deedee

    August 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

    As for me, i hate reptiles with a passion, i don’t mind roaches cos i have a PhD in killing them, but am scared shitless of cats cos u never know when they will turn violent. A friend of mine in Manchester always teased me about my phobia for cats whenever i go visiting at her place and boasted about her “gentle” cat until the day the cat attacked her and she was rushed to the hospital. The cat Pommie has the “this is my territory”kind of attitude towards me and always gives me the evil eye. I like dogs, although i have been bitten twice by my cousin’s dog and had to endure 12 doses of injection. *sighs*

  36. T.Girl

    August 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Wall geckos!!!! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i can sleep outside if i sight one in my room. #Their skin, eyes, everything is disgusting, sometimes i feel like God created them to punish me.

  37. gene

    September 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Creepy crawlies..not gene’s friend!

  38. Ashley

    September 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    …..Alot of them I steer clear of but ranking high in the house are those roaches that fly. I know of a certainty they are blind. My theory is that if your mouth is hanging open they would fly in.

    I detest cats and snakes repulse me to no end.

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