Monday, July 6, 2009

Creepy Crawlies Drive Me Crazy

The dictionary defines the word bug as ‘an insect or other creeping or crawling invertebrate animal’. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that other definitions for the word are ‘an unexpected mistake or imperfection’ or ‘a disease producing germ’.

Recently it seems my dislike, or fear if you will, of all bugs has become more apparent and perhaps more severe over the last few years. You would think that with age, the fear would lessen. I mean, I am rapidly approaching 30 for heaven’s sake. I will say right off the bat however, that I truly do feel bad killing any variety of these tiny or sometimes not so tiny creatures. I often apologize profusely before stomping on them with my big ole foot or sucking them up with a Dust Buster. But, the fact remains, if they are in my house or in my car, they need to disappear. And the odds of me quietly shooing them out the door to safety is slim to none, very slim; except of course for lightning bugs. They are my only friends in the bug kingdom and I would never do them harm. I used to feel the same way about lady bugs until freshman year in college when my room was infested with them. They weren’t so lady like anymore!

Lightning bugs aside, I have issues with all other creatures in the bug universe. Many of my childhood memories involve fear of bugs. Every time we used to visit my grandmother down the hill, we would have to fend off a swarm of bees to get in the front door. And while I was told many times that they were only the chubby, happy bees that don’t sting, there was no calming me down. I could envision myself being attacked by them in a large, vicious swarm, and it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t see one bit of jolly or happiness in those bees. Of course, I never did get stung, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still scary.

My grandmother also had what we have coined Hopping Bugs in her basement which were truly terrifying. Turns out, we also have them in ours. They are actually called Camel Back or Hump Back Crickets but Hopping Bug works just fine. The name itself says it all. It you are ever bored and feel the need to google them, beware, they are extremely terrifying to look at up close, or from any distance really. I was washing the dishes one fine day and I thought I saw some sort of shadow on my shoulder. Upon further inspection, which consisted of me simply turning my head to the left, I realized that one had silently hopped its way on to my shoulder. Not sure from where it hopped, but there it was. I went into a hysterical state, full of rage and intent on Killing. Can’t remember if I caught it or not. That part of the memory is a little fuzzy. They often creep there way upstairs and when I find them it’s like terror envelops me. Seriously, look them up. Scary little bastards.

Then of course there are spiders. I really hate them. My grandmother was the kind of person that would see a spider and either leave it alone and take the risk of having it crawl on her face while sleeping, or catch it and set if free out in the wilderness. I, on the other hand, scream (depending on the size and location) and look for the nearest weapon. Last weekend we were harmlessly out for a drive, when out of nowhere, I started twitching and yelling. My poor friend who was driving of course feared something was wrong until I told her there was a large spider crawling toward me. In a car you are trapped. Seat belted in to a confined space with no chance of evasion. Eventually, and due in large part to the fact that I was perhaps creating a dangerous driving environment, my friend pulled over so we could do away with this evil creature. She gave me a rolled up magazine and told me to just brush it off the door. Fear took over my body as I stared in to the eyes of this hairy, blue-mouthed spider. I couldn’t do it. What if it jumped at me while I was trying to simply help it to safety? Thankfully my friend came to the rescue, acknowledging first that this particular spider was indeed scary. She brushed it out of the car and off we sped as to not give it a chance to jump back on to the car and continue its terror spree.

Everyone has bug stories. I mean, there are countless more bugs in the world than people so encountering them is unfortunately a daily occurrence. I could go on and on about Japanese Beetles getting tangled in my hair, or inhaling mosquitoes while playing soccer, or being bittern countless times by fleas, or waking up to a squirrel sitting on my hamper…. Oh, sorry, that’s another story and an entirely different topic. Back to the bugs, I know they have their value in the world and I respect that, I guess. If they could only stay away from me, perhaps I wouldn’t mind them so much. It’s only in their best interest anyway, seeing as how coming near me is most likely a death sentence. Creep and crawl all you want, just maintain a safe perimeter and all will be well.

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