Tag Archive: entomophobia


Notice of Eviction

Dear Unwanted House Guests,

The funny part is I do not remember you actually asking if you could live here.  There was no ad placed on Westside Rentals touting “a fun place for silverfish to hang out and do their thing.”  I received no applications and no permission was granted for your admission.  In fact, I expressly remember boarding up what I assumed was your favorite entrance with a totally insect-proof wall plate.  Yet, you ignored all the warning signs and chose to wreak havoc anyway.

Had you asked nicely if you and your dozens of offspring could lay eggs and take up residence in my laundry basket, I still would have said no.  Why?  Because I’m insectist.  This may not be very Buddhist or vegan-friendly of me, but I’m sorry.  You are NOT wanted here.

I never received a deposit for the tissues I’ve wasted returning your cousins to the dust from whence they came.  Nor do I remember a contract with a panic attack clause, which would have cost you extra.  Not only that, but you’ve kept me up at night, literally, wondering when you little heathens were going to strike next.  You’ve sent out messengers to the master bath and guest bath; I’ve even seen some of your relatives in plain view on my walls!  Have you no shame? 

I realize that you like the water.  However, now that it is gorgeous outside, wouldn’t you prefer to set up camp by the sprinkler systems?  I’d even settle for you creeping up across the hall, where our lovely older single neighbor may enjoy your company.  Or perhaps you’d like to pack up your things and move further down the hall to enjoy some authentic Russian cooking next door.

Regardless of where you go, you must go.  Because unless you get a job, establish credit and start paying off the hefty fines you’ve accrued for emotional and psychological damages, I’m through.  I’m kicking you out.  By whatever means necessary.  That’s right.  I’ve been told that Pic powder kills you.  So even if I have to gate my dog from your favorite hang-outs for a little while, I will.  Because I’m sick of it.  Mi casa is NOT su casa.  This is not your crib.  So go pimp another hood with your colony and leave us the F alone.

You’ve been served.  You have 30 days with which to comply or else it’s off with your tiny little heads.

Sincerely,

The Giant Armed with a Kleenex Box Who Screams and Swears When she Sees You

P.S.  My four-legged furry bouncer will be watching you.

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And the winner is…

Only one person dared to guess the creature I was most afraid of at the Natural History Museum’s Insect Zoo.  What, are you all AFRAID to comment on my blog?  (ba-dum-ching)

So let’s talk about his guess:  the mighty fear-inducing tarantula. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I lived in a cheap first-floor apartment, that among other problems – an ex-boyfriend with a jealous new girlfriend and moldy holes in the wall due to water leakage – was infested with daddy long-legs spiders.  And where was this infestation centered, you ask?  Of all places, MY ROOM.

Every night when I came home from work, I’d find no less than eight of these giant arachnids chilling on the crack between my wall and ceiling — just above where I slept.  I’d calmly grab my econo-sized can of Raid and spray them till they stopped moving, probably doing more damage to my own lungs in the long run than to their nest, then I’d fall into a peaceful sleep.  I am ashamed to admit that I rarely cleared the hair-like carcasses from my wall, but for two marginally acceptable reasons:

1.  I’m short.  I could barely reach them with the can of bug spray standing on tippy-toes on my bed.

2.  No matter WHAT I did, there was always a new bunch that showed up the next day.

It got to a point where I almost named them.  We nearly shared a bottle of chardonnay.  It was awful, but for a time, I became completely desensitized to one of my greatest fears — some unintentional exposure therapy did the trick.  That’s not to say that if a nest appeared in my condo right now I’d have the same reaction.  Okay, I’d grab the can of Raid probably…nevermind that it’s the anti-roach variety.  It still works!

So what’s the point of my little story, then?  To prove that the giant, fuzzy, monster-like tarantula is part of the arachnid family, and therefore was not what I most feared at the Insect Zoo.

And the winner is…(drumroll, please)…the giant African millipede! 

Giant African Millipede

When Leslie brought this sucker out of her enclosure, it was coiled up worm-like and didn’t look half as menacing as I thought it would, but that’s because I couldn’t yet see its legs.  Slowly, the millipede uncurled and began slinking up her arm.  GAH!  SLINKING!!  It gives me shivers just remembering it.  About the thickness of my thumb and perhaps 10 inches long when completely stretched out, the millipede was shiny, segmented and dark.  Upwards of 100 legs shone a reddish tone and were fascinating to watch as they all moved in turn.  I disagreed with Leslie – this creature was most certainly not “cute” as she described it, but I have to admit it was pretty neat to watch its legs gracefully undulate and “do the wave”. 

When she asked if I wanted to let the millipede crawl on me, I immediately grimaced but knew I had to face my fear — I didn’t want to let anyone down!  So I stuck my hand underneath and lo and behold, there I was letting a giant African myriapod dance across my palm.  I thought it would make me ticklish, but the legs felt almost solid and sturdy, tiny brush bristles that tinkled up a piano scale.  Though Greg cut it out of the video, I distinctly remember looking at the camera and saying, “My mom won’t believe I’m doing this.”  Just refer to the post entitled “When Fear is a Good Thing” and you’ll know why. 

After that, it was time to face the tarantula, but not before Leslie dug into a tupperware container full of tarantula “skins.”  Did you know that tarantulas molt?  They shed their ENTIRE bodies, right down to their fangs!  And for educational purposes, the museum keeps several on hand, one of which I held.  I was completely weirded out by the fact that its fuzzy exterior was just as velvety as my dog’s ears.  Anyone want to rub a spider molt on their cheek?

Desert Blonde Tarantula

Leslie then picked up a live female desert blonde tarantula, noting that the museum likes “hairy-legged girls” and let us pet her soft belly.  Each of its eight legs retracted and the spider held still — so still that I wasn’t 100% convinced it was even real.  In fact, I think I was more terrified of the bucket o’ inanimate spider suits than I was of the live tarantula, a species that can live up to 15 or even 20 years.  Side note:  to those of my friends and family with kids, please do not ever let them get a tarantula.  I might never enter your house again.

What?  You thought I was going to “get over” my fear of insects, arachnids and myriapods that quickly?  Come on!  I mean, in the days ahead of the insect encounter, I could barely kill an average house fly, and just over a week afterwards, I still jumped and shook upon seeing two enormous hoppety crickets outside my condo.

But nevertheless, I am proud of myself and can say I’ve experienced something most people are too afraid to try.  That’s right, macho dudes who can jump out of airplanes but are too squeamish to hold a bug in their hand.  I did this.  And that’s gotta count for something.

Until next time, this is your friendly neighborhood Feardom Fighter signing off, just a teensy bit less scared. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI1PSI64U00

This morning I was happily packing my lunch in the kitchen when I heard the dog licking the floor. I haaaaaaaaaaaaaate when he licks the floor. Not only is it an obnoxious-sounding and gross habit, but he leaves a trail of tongue and nose prints that I then step in with my bare feet. Blech.

So I turned around to whisper-yell, “Stoppit! Git!” like I normally do when this occurs at 6 am, when I saw it. It.  A bug.  A big’un.  Relatively long, black, and being gingerly flopped off of my dog’s pink tongue onto the floor.

Ohmygod. Run. Run!

I shooed the dog while dropping four-letter word bombs left and right and sprinted to grab the first shoe I could find. It was a total war zone and that heavy size 10 sneaker was my grenade. The dog tucked his tail as far up his crotch as caninely possible while I snuck back towards the kitchen doorway for a peek.

It lay unmoving, paralyzed by its own fear, on the floor beneath the sink, its alien legs folded in. In full protective gear (shoes) I craftily performed my sneak attack: I screamed a not un-Muppet-like scream and chucked my husband’s shoe at the horrible beast. Then I flew back to the doorway, shaking, and waited.

Then I waited some more. And nothing happened. I tiptoed my way back up to the shoe, a high-octave piano scale accompanying me in my head, but nothing crawled out. I’d either temporarily trapped it, or more likely, the grasshopper-like insect was already dead before my outlandish display of heroics, and I’d just killed it…more.

I didn’t wait to find out. Like the coward I am, I left the shoe on top of what I hoped was a not-too-squished insect carcass for my husband to deal with later. And to He Who Puts Up With Me, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you. I considered being brave, moving the shoe, snapping a pic with my iPhone and removing the bug with a mondo-wad of paper towels, but I just couldn’t do it. I will say that I have done it before. It was just that I saw the time and well, it was kind of a good excuse not to.

Not long after, while walking the dog outside, I came across a beetle in my path.

It’s got to be an omen of bad things to come.