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Gill had a bad experience this morning. She saw a huge moth at the tip top of the curtains in her flat. Terrified of the things, she called her neighbor over to hunt down and kill the horrid creature. He rushed over, like a true dragon slayer, to help the ‘little lady’ in her hour of need. Never say chivalry is dead.

As it turns out, ‘the little lady’ had been a bit hungover when she spied the moth and what Gill took for a moth was, wait for it, a piece of the frayed curtain that was sticking out. Humiliated, she explained away her mistake by pleading hangover, moth phobia, and most of all, her recent illness and the accompanying heavy dose of drugs she had to take. Yup…two weeks ago. Well, any port in a storm, I say.

Gill comes by her phobia honestly. I have been terrified by bugs — mostly beetles, cock roaches and june bugs– but the fear has rendered me witless on many occasions. As a young child, I remember a particularly bad infestation of the bugs one spring. My mom and I were walking on the sidewalks of our suburb, crushing and crunching the thousands of beetles under our feet. It was more than gross…and that began my fear of the bugs. It took a long time for the memory of the crunching noise my feet made when their shells cracked under my pressure to abate. It was the stuff of nightmares. For the same reason, I have never been a big fan of ‘Turtles’ chocolates. They remind me too much of june bugs being crushed.

I still recall the time at our cottage, when I was about 10, when a june bug fell out of the chimney near where I was sleeping and landed on my face. I jumped up and went screaming into the night. From then on, I had a real phobia about the critters. So much so that, when I was dating my ex (way back in high school), our evening goodbyes at my parents’ door were always cut short in the early summer. My father, ever the protector of his daughter’s virtue, left the porch light on — I guess to scare off my boyfriend and any untoward ideas he might have. Trust me, with june bug season in full bloom, indiscrete groping at the front door was the last thing on my mind. Turns out my father’s light scared ME —  since the june bugs took the light as a signal to party hearty, right by the door, so that even kissing goodnight was an exercise in terror for me. I dashed inside, leaving my boyfriend in the lurch. “Was it something I said?” he asked.

Try as I did, I’m afraid my fear of bugs translated to my kids. Oddly enough, it was Crazy D who took the phobia and ran with it, making his own special demons. One summer after the divorce, I took the three kids to my uncle’s property in the country. It was a lovely spot, with swimming pool and creek running through it. There was a ‘guest cottage’ in addition to the main cottage. Crazy D, feeling very adult (he was 11) and probably wanting to escape his all-femaile, all-the-time household, asked if he could stay in the guest cottage by himself the first night. I worried a bit about him but okayed the sleeping arrangement. Off he trotted, proud as punch to be by himself in the ‘wilds’ of Southern Ontario. We all settled in…but shortly thereafter, there was a thumping on our door and somebody screaming, “Help!”

I jumped out of bed and ran to see what the commotion was. It was Crazy D, quaking in his boots, shaking, begging me to get rid of the moths in the cabin.”Mom, they’re everywhere! They’re in the drapes, all around the windows, one flew into me! Mom, I can’t sleep there!”

Apparently his memory was short-lived since, as a teenager, he asked to be allowed to spend the night at our country property — The Cedar Pond, as we dubbed it. I must explain that these living quarters were much more rudimentary and sketchy than the cottage. Basically, the building on the property was a shack. No door that closed properly, no inside toilet, no heat, no running water. It was a man’s cabin, meant for the Unabomber or his ilk. Enter Crazy D. He really thought he could do it. He’d enjoy the peace, quiet, only the sounds of the local wildlife. He did in fact hear the honking of geese on the pond and the scuttering of rodents in the framework of the shack. But it was when the moths came that he went — hightailing it off the property and hiking several miles to get to a phone to call me to come and rescue him. Other bugs don’t bother him, but the sight or sound of a moth drives him nuts.

Perhaps Gill was having flashbacks to the cottage when she went ballistic over the current curtain/moth. Personally, I’d advise her to take a couple of Advil, eat a bacon sandwich (well known hangover cure), and refrain from calling anyone in a post-drinking binge fog. It’s a well-known fact that the number of moths you see grows exponentially with the number of drinks you consume. Just sayin’…

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