Friday, December 6, 2013


Last summer, I went on a vacation with some girlfriends. Our destination was the Arkansas Ozarks. We were going to hike, cook outside, and hang out in nature. Before the trip, if I had to plot the girls I was traveling with and me on a scale illustrating levels of "girly girlness," it would have looked something like this:

That's how I think I fall in most groups of randomly selected females.

Needless to say, I was taken aback when it turned out I was the girl on the trip that was in a constant panic about bugs.

I couldn't believe it.

I was the kid that used to get pleasure out of smoshing roaches. In elementary school, we were given an assignment that we could complete by making a bug collection or by doing a report. Ever the Tomboy, Daddy's Girl that I was- I was going to do a bug collection. And I loved it! I distinctly remember bragging about the prize of my collection: a huge red and black grasshopper that my Dad and I found in the woods.

Now, here I was twenty years later, in the woods again but on absolute pins and needles from fear that a bug might touch me. Apparently I had grown out of my masculine fascination with bugs. I still sweat like a boy, got uber competitive with anything that had a winner and a loser, loved bathroom humor, and couldn't do my hair or makeup to save my life; but I was terrified of bugs.

This fact quickly came to light during our hike. Luckily, it wasn't until the second half of the hike that I started seeing them- but once I saw them, that was it. There were katydids EVERYWHERE. I felt like I had night vision goggles on and the leaf impersonators were little balls of heat. They took a page out of the stinging catepillar's book and had conga lines going up and down trees (see below). They were chilling on rocks.They were sitting on the ground. I'll say it again- they were EVERYWHERE. And they were eyeballing the shit out of us.

Nasty nasty. Why must they impersonate human centipede? Why?

I felt like every time we stomped by a gathering of bugs, they would spring to life and erratically jump through the air. Sometimes at us. Sometimes not. It was enough to make me nuts.

I started positioning myself amongst my friends like we were in a haunted house--- I made sure there was always someone in front of me and behind me at all times. (Yep- I'm THAT girl). If these little green assholes were going to jump, I didn't want them landing on me. Nope. No sir.

Surprisingly, everyone else was pretty chill about the bugs. No one shared in my asinine antics. My unreasonable explanations- given with gritted teeth and dilated pupils that jumped from tree to tree and never focused on the person being spoken to- only furthered the "afraid of bugs/not of afraid of bugs" divide between my friends and me. I was the lone crazy one.

When we got out of the woods, I had a "come to Jesus" with myself. "Play it cool, Leila. That little scene on the hike was unreasonable. Just absolutely unreasonable. For the rest of the trip, you are not allowed to freak out over bugs."

I wish I can say the self talk worked. It was only about 68% effective. I did panic a few more times over some flying six legged friends, but overall I avoided anymore total freakouts.

This all came to a head on our final day. We were packing up and heading out and I decided to take a shower. I undressed, wrapped myself in a towel, and went to the bathroom. I hung the towel outside the shower, got in, simultaneously pulled the shower curtain closed and turned on the shower. I turned to see I was not alone. There was a rather large spider on the inside of the shower curtain. Just chilling.

I calmly turned off the shower, got out, wrapped myself in the towel and left the bathroom.

"Hey yall- I know yall are tired of me being afraid of bugs, but there is a big ass spider in the shower right now and I don't think I can shower with him in there. It's either me or him but we're not going to get clean together."

My two friends who are awesome and don't mind killing invertebrates when necessary went in the bathroom together (I'm sure they sighed and rolled their eyes- as they should have- they were tired of my shit). There was a loud noise as they tripped over each other trying to get out of the bathroom.


I shrugged and accepted the fact that I was not going to be showering before we hit the road.

You win some, you lose some. And on the trip to the Ozarks, I lost.

I lost a lot.

1 comment: