When I was a little girl I really enjoyed living in the "country". For the first six years of my life my family called Richmond, Rhode Island home. We had it all: the poison ivy, the blueberry patch, the gypsy moths, the neighbors who made moonshine and conned people out of money with a cleaning products scheme. Ahhh, it was bliss. Being young and carefree, I didn't mind the snakes or the bugs ... or even the constantly flooded basement (my parents hogged up all the "minding" on that one). But for some reason, as I grew older I grew less fond of things that slither, buzz, crawl and creep.
One of the first insects I learned to LOATHE was the almighty cricket. These terror-evoking creatures would ninja around our basement and plant themselves somewhere super scary so that when my guard was down they could scare the shit out of me. I would be "studying" for school exams (listening to my headphones and reading Teen Beat) and see one sitting on the end table. Heart attack. I carried aerosol cans of Lemon Pledge with me so that I could spray the last breath out of them. It caused them to turn white and slide off the table. And I will never, ever, ever, EVER forget 'bare-footly' slipping on my little, white Chuck Taylor's to find that horrifyingly unpleasant, squishy surprise. I ran, like my life depended on it, straight to the toilet and gagged my guts out. In fact, just writing that now forced a full body shiver and facial expressions that should probably be mocked on You Tube.
There were dozens if not hundreds of times that I called for my mother to kill a spider or a bee. She would take off that classic "mom slipper" and smack them dead for me. One night, or more like early morning, I woke my father to kill a moth that was aimlessly zipping around my bedroom. He couldn't find it and groggily assured me that it was gone. Well that was clearly unsatisfying to me. There was no way in hell I was getting any rest. So there I sat, on my bed with a can of Lysol in one hand and the vacuum attachment in the other. I waited him out. He never showed. I ended up finding him months later, dead, behind my bookcase. Why I almost never cleaned my room is a story for another time.
The glistening cherry on top of my paranoia sundae came when I had the joy of experiencing the House Centipede. I won't even attach the link - just Google it if you've never seen one. Vomit town. The horror took place in our first apartment and we had lived there only a few weeks when I saw the first dirtbag. I had just put my yoga mat on the floor for some Pilates when out of the corner of my eye I saw something scurrying like it's ass was on fire. The shape and color petrified me. A jillion-legged, antennae-clad, beer colored demon bug. It came out from under the television and sprinted across the room. My heart stopped. I had NEVER seen anything move that quickly. Frozen, I called Gregg's work - begging for them to put him on the phone. I called my upstairs neighbor leaving a message so tragically hilarious she played it for everyone at work the next day (and weekly for years after). I called my mother pretty much insisting that she should take the twenty-five minute drive and save me from this sinister creature. But I was left alone on this one. Grabbing my trusty can of green apple Lysol, I inched my way back into the depths of hell. Roughly twenty minutes passed before I mustered the courage to start spraying him. I DRAINED that can leaving a puddle about the size of a Papasan chair cushion in the center of the living room. This was the first of MANY standoffs. It got to the point where I became so terrified of them that I wouldn't enter a room without scanning the walls and floors first, clutching Hot Shot Kitchen Bug Killer (which didn't repel them but would inevitably kill them when sprayed directly on their nasty asses). I also wore shoes all the time, refusing to walk barefoot. This horrific time in my life actually caused some permanent damage. If I notice so much as a tiny piece of a leaf or even lint on the floor I immediately assume it's a scary bug. A simple hole left by a nail or tack, a scuff mark or ANYTHING out of place on the wall triggers instant panic. And just yesterday, happily picking apples with the family, I was a flailing, yelping mess as "things" buzzed by my cranium in the orchard. I'm a broken woman.
Final thought - Please note that I do realize that not only am I a rotten human being for killing off scores of innocent, disgusting creatures but I also know that I am single-handedly ruining the environment with chemicals and aerosol death spray. You're welcome, everyone.