I wonder occasionally what childhood experiences led to these uncomfortable (and sometimes freakin' terrifying) relationships with bugs. When I take the time to reminisce, there is no shortage of mental fodder.
It all started when I was three (I think). My mother and father had just returned to moderately rural Kentucky from Alaska after my dad was discharged from the army where they settled into a rental house owned by my grandfather and grandmother. Considering the absurdley young age that I moved into that place, I have a nutty number of memories from there. For now, I'll concentrate on those of the bug variety.
My first traumatic bug memory is somewhat convoluted as is the prerogative (thanks for that word, Bobby Brown) of a three year old. My mom swears it was a hot coal from an ash dump after a grill out that I inadverntly stepped on in the yard and yet I swear it was a bumble bee. Chances are, I suffered through both, but I remember pain, a swollen foot that wouldn't accomodate a shoe and a lingering reticence to ever walk barefoot in the grass, yet another thing that made me a statistical outlier in the rolling hills of NKY (Northern Kentucky for those who are bigger outsiders than me...)
But it wasn't just the smokin' hot bumble bee that messed with my psyche, because you see, it was also during that small window of time that my first nightmares started to arrive. And the one about the walking sticks still haunts me to this day.
The Walking Stick Dream...
Not much too it really, in the telling in any case, but oh how it has stayed with me.
It was a beautiful day (much like today's weather in fact which is certainly why I felt compelled to write this whole thing just now) with azure blue skies and rare whisps of the odd spare cloud. I was at the south end of the yard near the black barn letting the wholly indulgent and delicious sunshine and breeze of what could only be a May afternoon riffle through my hair and whole being when suddenly... I felt a tickle.
There I was, a beacon of childhood happiness, when suddenly an ominous skitter of what could only be a 6-legged tap dance of sorts started hopping like popcorn through my favorite lemon yellow snap-up jumpsuit with the rainbow collar (thank you so much 1979). It became overwhelming to such a point where a so-so modest kid felt the need to rip apart the snaps to reveal...
At least 50 WALKING STICKS marching across my milky white pre-prepubescent torso! GAH! And they were huge! I blame my first visit to the zoo for my intitial rememembered burst of nightmares, and I'm sure the insect house was due to bear a good chunk of the blame. I have more stories for a later time that orients around bears and snakes, but like I said, for another time.
But that was just the beginning of my bug issues. I had to stay home from school one day in first grade because of a spider bite that left a knot on my arm the size of a highly tradable marble. My cat got fleas once in second grade, and I quickly came to understand the value of complete immolation (yes, I was pretty sure we should burn the house to the ground), and bees and mosquitoes have alway sought me out like a delicacy. That whole "don't bother them and they won't bother you" is the biggest load of nonsense I have ever heard in my life.
And then there were the cicadas. That is a story I will DEFINITELY leave for another time. Shudder. Let's just say it leads to an 8 week future vacation plan in some glorious and culturally rich location that has yet to be determined which is certainly FAR AWAY FROM HERE! But for now, we shall wait.
So when you see me scream, dance and wave my arms around my head on the soccer field like a charming yet seriously mentally ill individual, you'll know that there is a history there-- one that you've only heard a tiny bit about. And if it's not me... Well, now maybe, you'll be a bit more sympathetic to that crazy lady you see. :)