--Kudos to my Uncle Paul for inspiring the title of this post.--
From a very early age, I can remember being scared of bugs. And I don't mean scared as in giving-a-girly-squeak-and-swatting-it-away scared. I mean full-on-panic-inducing-I-should-probably-go-see-a-therapist-phobic scared. It doesn't even really matter the size or type of bug either, almost anything will send tremors down my little spine. Obviously, I could easily narrow in on a few types of insect that either A) scare the begeezus out of me slightly more than most, or B) are maybe not the nastiest of nast, but are more frequent invaders of my home/space than others.
I don't know if it's because I am incredibly hyper-aware of any potential bugs in my vicinity, or because the universe continuously plays evil tricks on me in sending creatures my way, but I seem to be more prone to close encounters of the insect- kind than most people. These events have spanned my entire life, and sadly, they have stayed with me in vivid detail as traumatic contributors to my fear as it has evolved to present day.
When I was 9, my little sister and I were swinging on a swingset in a friend's backyard. As we swung, we nonchalantly swept and kicked the ground with our feet as we passed over it. That's when I first found out that SOME bees (yellowjackets) make their nests in.....the....ground........What kind of sick joke is that?! Bees are speedy fliers, have poisonous stingers, OH AND they get to totally fake you out and build a nest IN THE GROUND too?? So that you walk through it. Or kick through it on a swingset. The next thing we knew, dozens of little black bees were swarming us, stinging at will and seemingly alerting all of their bee-friends to come join the fight. The little bastards got me a total of 11-ish times. My 5 year old sister had at least triple that amount, but you would have never known it by the way I reacted. In my opinion, I had basically become a martyr to neighborhood swing-goers everywhere that day. I was afraid to leave the house for a week. I would start crying every time a suspicious looking piece of fluff caught a draft and came near me. I forced my mom to doctor up my "wounds" with a baking soda paste and insisted that they still hurt days after the incident. And that's how bees landed on my personal insect shit-list for life.
*I can already tell that this topic is going to turn into a serial-post. I just have too much to say about this particular little avenue of retrospection.*
But for now, I will move on to the hideous little beasts known as ROACHES.
Scariest costume ever?
I feel like I have too many roach stories to even possibly touch on all of them. I suppose that goes with the territory of living in areas that could double as Hell's doorstep, especially Columbia, SC.
(But to those of you reading from Houston, you are a close second, if not a tie for first. Some of my roach memories come STRAIGHT from 4506 Hazelton.)
There was the time one flew across a lecture hall to land directly on the rim of the mug I was drinking out of. Instinctively, I threw the mug into the aisle, dousing at least 3 classmates with hot chocolate, jumped from my seat and frantically climbed over no less than 2 football players to escape the 2-inch perpetrator.
Or the time I found myself in the bathroom with one after a late night at Blockbuster. My roommates literally came out of their rooms equipped with makeshift weapons, as my screams implied that I was surely being axe-murdered, or, at the very least, that our house was being burglarized.
Or the time one weaseled its way into my truck through the passenger side window. Luckily, my truck was in "park" at the time, or I would not have lived through the catastrophic wreck that would have inevitably ensued to tell you this tale.
The most traumatizing story I have to date, however, also happens to be the most recent. I don't know what it is about roaches and bathrooms, but that is the setting for this anecdote as well. I came home to my townhouse after a long day of class, and I needed to pee. I set my things down, went into our downstairs bathroom, and shut and locked the door. I should add that this bathroom is TINY. Like, the tiniest bathroom you've ever seen. When you sit on the toilet, the walls on either side of you are no less than 2 inches away. Oh, and this bathroom is also carpeted. These factors, combined with the locked door, came together in a malicious trifecta mere minutes later.
So there I am, emptying my tank, so to speak, when I hear a most curious noise. I stop to listen. What the hell is that? I wonder. It was a faint scuttling noise. It sounded like miniature, crazed, staccato tap-dancing or something. And I had never heard it before in my life. Whatever the hell it was, it was moving with. a. quickness.
And then I saw it.
Horrible and brown and oily-looking and disease-infested, it made its appearance on the wall to my left. The noise I had heard was its FEET! BARF. I'm not sure "panic" does the emotion I felt next justice. Perhaps "hysteria" would be more appropriate. I sprung from the toilet, but alas! I had apparently lost my ability to unlock a simple bathroom door lock! The rank creature was scuttling every which way at this point. From wall to wall, across the toilet bowl, and running figure 8s around my shoes.
Why didn't I just step on it, you ask? Oh, because the bathroom floor was CARPETED. And if you know anything about roaches, you know that a simple moosh into a carpet barely even slows them down. And also because I was too frantic to function coherently at that point.
By some miracle, the bathroom door finally came open, and I exploded out into my living room, pants around my ankles.
I shimmied in the direction of the bug spray as fast as I could, but by the time I returned to the bathroom doorway, the Tap-dancing Roach was nowhere to be seen. I backed away from the door slowly and scanned the room with my peripheral. At this point I had managed to re-pants myself, and I was also crying hysterically.
I called Suz. She couldn't understand my unintelligible gibberish through the sobbing and the shrieking.
Finally, the roach bared its ugly antennae again, and it was a full-out battle, Me vs. Arthropod, for a solid 10 minutes of Raid squirting vs. natural roach resilience. And my saint of a mother stayed on the phone with me the entire time, listening to the whole ordeal on the other end of the line. ( I should actually thank Suz for continuing to pick up the phone--ever--when I call.)
And so I had smited the roach.....this time.
These are but a few of my rationalizations for being as paralyzed by bugs as I am. At age 22, I'm just as terrified as I was when I was 9, kicking through a yellowjacket nest. One might even argue that I have only gotten more neurotic. So I will post more of my ongoing war with invertebrates as the battles occur.
Oh, and I haven't been back in that downstairs bathroom since.