One of the bad things about living in the country is the bugs. I’ve come a long way in the two years we lived here. I no longer scream and flail around when a multi-legged creature lands on me – at least not much. I’ve even been known to pick a lady bug or other benign insect off a leaf and evict it from my garden with my bare hands. But there are limits to my tolerance, and those limits were reached several times this week.
This is the time of year when the weather is conducive to open windows. I love feeling the cool breeze blowing through, replacing the stale winter air with the fresh smells of spring, but there are negative aspects, too. There’s dust and there are bugs. Our screens are getting old. They don’t fit as tightly as they used to, and if there’s the least little open space, all kinds of creepy-crawlies and flying things find their way in. I’ve gotten used to it, and many a bug has found himself in the bowels of the vacuum cleaner bag before he knew what hit him.
I’m not so calm when it comes to spiders, though, and this week there was a spider. A big one. In the bathtub. We don’t use the tub much. It’s a big round thing that looks impressive but isn’t really. It’s fairly shallow and doesn’t have any jets, and we can empty our 40-gallon hot water tank without filling it up enough for a really good soak. Even so, I wasn’t thrilled when a big black eight-legged thing took up residence in it. I didn’t think he could crawl up the slick fiberglass sides, but you never know what they can do with those webs, so I kept a wary eye on him. Several times I thought he was dead, but then he’d make another circuit around the tub, plotting his escape and the evil he’d inflict on me once he got out. Finally, enough was enough, and I got out the bug spray. After a squirt or two, I left him to his fate, and after he was sufficiently shriveled to pose no threat, I picked him up with a tissue and sent him to a watery grave in the septic tank.
Things were quiet in the bug wars for a day or two, but they heated up on Wednesday night when I was fixing dinner. I had been out to the garden for some lettuce and was rinsing away the sand when I felt a tickle on the back of my knee. I didn’t think much about it. I had on jeans, so what could it be? Maybe a drop of sweat although it wasn’t really that hot. Then I felt it again, more of a scratching sensation this time. I reached down and felt a lump under the denim. I don’t know if the Guinness Book of World Records has an entry for this category, but I’m pretty sure I broke the speed record for getting out of a pair of jeans. It was only a cricket, but he paid dearly for his invasion of my privacy. He ended his days wadded up in a paper towel in the trash can. It might have been a bug’s idea of Heaven except there are no food scraps there. They’re all on the compost pile where all the smart bugs go for dinner.
You’d think that was enough excitement for one day, but the close encounters continued. That night when I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed I heard a flying creature of some sort banging himself again and again against the mirrors and light fixtures. I ignored him while I went through my nightly routine. The final ritual is the taking of the pills. While I was getting a large white caplet from one bottle and a medium-sized pink one from another, I realized I didn’t hear the bug any more. I looked around on the counter but didn’t see him, so I assumed he’d moved on to another room. I popped the pills in my mouth, took a big swallow of water from the glass I brought in with me, and I found him – in the glass – floating. They say in moments of near death, your life passes before your eyes. I didn’t see scenes from my 6+ decades on this earth, but a number of thoughts chased each other across my mind in the next nanosecond as I leaned over the sink poised to spit.
- Oh gross! No telling what’s in my mouth.
- Well, aside from anything else, there are two pills. If I spit, they’ll go down the sink.
- One is a calcium supplement that I got for free with a coupon from my Medicare Part D carrier, but when they’re gone, I’ll have to buy more.
- One is a timed-release niacin supplement that cost $50 a bottle. I don’t have time to calculate how much that is per pill, but I really don’t want to waste one.
- I don’t feel anything wiggling around in my mouth. Maybe I missed all the bug parts.
In the end, I swallowed quickly and tried not to think about what I might have ingested. I poured the remaining contents of the glass into the sink, averting my eyes as the bug swirled down the drain. I didn’t want to know if anything was missing.
So that’s my bug adventures for the week. I’m probably suffering from some mild post traumatic stress, but in the end, I came out the winner.
City Girl – 3 Bugs – 0