If You Knew What Bugged Me

Posted: December 16, 2014 in Blog
Tags: , ,

A few blogs ago, I confided in you (and thanks for not telling anyone else) that I thought the Lesbian Association of the Midwest, or LAM as we call them for short, was going to descend upon my house, capture my lesbian membership card and haul it away with a big hook through it, while I ran after Spike the tow truck driver in my bunny slippers with a towel around my head I-Dream-of-Jeanie style. That confrontation was inevitable due to a lack of detectable athletic bones in my body. This…this is different. It just doesn’t do much to further one’s image as a bad ass when one has to admit to being afraid of bugs.

I can trace it back, you know. In Urban Tidepool, I mention those Gulf state cockroaches that I had to tolerate while living in Mississippi with my brother, The Major, and his wife.  That’s where it started.

We arrived in late June. I immediately wilted from the heat and began making comparisons to when I had stayed in Virginia. Hampton had had bees and crickets and cicadas. Mississippi had lizards and enormous Gulf state cockroaches that popped out unexpectedly when you opened the shower curtain, or the garage door, or the linen closet. The lizards were tolerable, even cute, and they stayed outside. But those giant roaches were another story. I half expected one of them to greet me wearing a bandana around his forehead, wave and thank me for my contribution before making off with my socks. Taking a shower and opening the closet door to get a towel became an aerobic game of peek-a-boo, when I would –quick, quick!—fling the door open, and –quick, quick!—shake the curtain or the door to discourage wild life, and then—quick, quick!—jump back about three feet in case someone had been home who was now skittering around free range on the bathroom floor. These steps had to be followed at all times because the wild life was known to make an occasional appearance in the shower with you if you didn’t rouse them and escort them to the county line beforehand and NOTHING was worse than coming nose to nose with a giant cockroach hanging on the shower curtain when you were all sudsed up and unarmed. What was I supposed to do then? Wash his hair for him?


It’s the bug legacy. A friend of mine would probably refer to this as a moment to embrace my grace and put it right out there. Okay. I’m putting it out there. To this day, big bugs freak me out.

It’s not like I’ve gone through my adult life looking for reasons to have bug distress. On an average day, I don’t even think about bugs. But that’s part of the evil genius of bugs—just when you are not thinking about them, they come a’running and then you’re left to deal with the fall out of your unanticipated bug meltdown.

Several years ago in my apartment dwelling life, I did sporadic battle with centipedes. Now…if there’s one thing I hate worse than I hate bugs, it’s centipedes. Especially those ones that you find inside the house, usually about a third of the way up some wall, hanging about as if they have every right to be standing there with all seven hundred of their little toes gripping the stucco. It was an eye opening experience when I realized just how deeply the bug freak out gene ran in me.

It was a Saturday morning, like any other low key Saturday morning. I lounged about, had some coffee, and then went to shower to start my day. Here’s a thing to know about me. Without my spex, I can’t see the end of my own nose. So there I am, spex-less, humming to myself in the shower, planning my weekend adventures. I happened to glance down.

Test number one for the bug freak out gene: Even without your spex on, you will recognize the blurry outline of said bug as friend or foe at 50 paces, in the dark, using only your peripheral vision.

Foe! Spotted directly between my feet!

Granted, things moved pretty quickly after this point, but I was certainly there long enough to attest to the fact that the identified foe was standing between my feet, in a stream of water, wearing a shower cap on his little head and scrubbing his bizarre-ly long back with a teeny little bath brush. With a bizarre-ly long handle. I’m also certain he was singing. Oh Sherrie, by Steve Perry, if I’m not mistaken. And he MAY have been using that bizarre-ly long handled bath brush as a microphone, holding it in four or five of his front feet.

Test number two for the bug freak out gene: Once the foe has been identified, any self-respecting bad ass will take the proper action to rid one’s personal space of any bug or bug like matter.

What else could I do? I did what I suspect a lot of self-respecting bad asses probably do. I threw myself, naked and shrieking, through the bathroom door and into the kitchen, trailing the end of the shower curtain after me.

Test three for the bug freak out gene: It endures, dammit.

It was at least a decade ago that I made such a soggy spectacle of myself. One would think we outgrow these things. Sadly, I am here to report to you: we do not. When I came nose to nose recently with an otherworldly cockroach who was large enough to be wearing pants and carrying a wallet with photos of his wife and thousands of children, the bug freak out gene kicked in full force and I was texting people five states away for their suggestions on how to kill him.

The jury is still out on whether or not I can be a bad ass but otherwise, it’s official. I passed all three tests. I have entomophobia. I am askeered of entomos.


  1. Georgia says:

    Hilarious…every part of it. Well done!! But are you sure that’s what he was singing? I generally hear something by Aretha Franklin or Dianna Ross!

  2. Janet McHale says:

    You crack me up!

  3. Janet Shingleton says:

    First, let me apologize for the length of this post. After reading many of your posts, I am convinced Nancy, that you are a natural born writer and humorist! 💕
    === I am standing in line, waiting patiently as I flip through my brand new copy of Urban Tidepool. The line progresses and now I finally see you, seated behind the table, laughing with fans, posing for photos, and with Sharpie in hand, personalize each copy. ===

    Nancy, bugs in general do not bother me, but giant flying cockroaches, on the other hand, give me the willies and I cannot get away fast enough. Living in Baton Rouge for 14 yrs, they were unavoidable.
    My worst memory is being awoken by the feeling of something crawling up my arm as it dangled over the side of the bed. As awareness set in, I felt something scamper over my forehead.
    Without hesitating, I threw back the covers, lept up, flicked on the overhead light and uncovered the entire bed. My ex-husband was startled awake, and I refused to get back in bed until this Creature was Gone.
    Realizing no sleep would be had until the deed was done, he located the Creature, cupped his hands over it, carried into the living room and released it through the mail slot in the door.

    Although I will carry and release bugs and spiders outside (usually balanced on a slip of paper), I would not dare get close enough to a cockroach —I didn’t trust them. I would not step on them, either, after hearing the loud, juicy, popping explosion sound it made when my bug-stomping friend did this on my visit to Houston.
    I am glad my roach-wrangling days are behind me!

    All the best Nancy!

    p.s. My Houston friend created quite a stir in her new apt in Germany when the movers discovered an active stowaway roach while delivering her shipped furniture and boxed belongings! Oh, to have seen their faces! 😊

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