Friday, August 03, 2007

In Which I Write About A Phobia and Butterflies



I don't like insects and/or bugs. Anything with more than four legs pretty much creeps me out. And while I don't mind snakes, I find worms just as disturbing as insects and bugs . . . probably because I am never fully convinced that a worm is not merely a larva waiting for an opportunity to crawl on me rather than slither.

If an insect lands on me, I freak out. I either freeze or panic. There is no logic as to which will happen although there does seem to be a correlation between size/location and reaction. Certain locations and/or size of said creature will cause me to freeze. Other times it will cause me to shriek in a typical girly fashion and jump as quickly as I can away from the beast.

One night, there was a palmetto bug in our bedroom. It had escaped under the bed so I was convinced it would just stay there and die. At least, that was my hope. I lay there, innocently reading my magazine, when suddenly this horrible black thing landed first on my magazine and then dropped onto my leg! I hit it from my leg, with a shriek of course, thanking the gods that I was wearing pants and not shorts, and jumped to the other side of the bed.

Unfortunately, in doing this I effectively cornered myself in the room with the bug because I had batted it towards the bedroom door and leapt myself away from my only means of escape. Fortunately for me, my son and daughter came to my rescue and I was soon safely hiding with my magazine in the great room.

Rob, who was taking a shower and had heard my shriek, came into the room shortly thereafter.

Rob: I take it that the reason you screamed was because of the bug.
Me: Yes.
Rob: Well, I killed it.
Me: Yay! My hero.
Rob: Yeah. When I came out of the bathroom it was coming right at me.
Me: See? It tried to attack you too!
Rob: It wasn't attacking. It was just coming towards me.
Me: It was attacking, I say! First it dove onto me and then it tried to sneak up on you as you were entering the room.
Rob: Well, it's dead now.
Me: Yay!

Let it be known that my horror of these things is not determined by its prettiness and/or usefulness. I am kinder to ladybugs, merely desperately trying to shake them off or blow them away. I can tolerate a dragonfly from a distance, thank you ever so. Then there are moths and butterflies. I like the way they fly. It looks rather confusing and all over the place. They fly the way I think. LOL! But this does not mean that I like them to get near me.

One day I was sitting outside of the student center, having lunch with a friend, talking about The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman when this butterfly landed on my head. My friend was thrilled as this butterfly settled down to sun itself, describing to me how its wings were opening and closing. I sat there in frozen terror, feeling the butterfly's tiny little claws digging into my scalp, knowing that it's curly tongue was seeking some sustenance from my hair, and that if I tried to make it go away those claws would only dig deeper . . . or I might hurt its wings.

So I sat there, trying not to move, trying not to cry, trying not to think about those claws or that tongue. Eventually, the butterfly left me and I sighed in relief. I sighed, having survived the attack of the butterfly!

With all this said, I still feel a sadness when I find things like this on our deck. Apparently I don't have to like something (or someone) to have sympathy for them. But the truth is, it helps.

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