I’m Not Afraid of Bugs

shot at chalakudy kerala India Angle-wing Katydid?

A couple of weeks ago, during my afternoon kid-minding, I picked the boy up from school and when we got out of the car, he suddenly jumped back. Apparently, he thought he saw a hornet. Naturally, I teased the boy a little bit because, dude, you jumped and squealed over a bug.

And then I got to thinking.

I’m the only person I know that doesn’t have one bug that causes me to freak out. None. They might startle me if they appear suddenly, but even that is a mild start and I certainly don’t squeal. I like some bugs better than others. I’m uncomfortable with the number of legs a centipede and millipede have, but never has one had me fleeing the room. I’m allergic to bees and hornets and wasps, but I’ve never flailed in their presence. Even June bugs, my least favorite bug for its habit of flying into my forehead like a drunk kamikaze pilot, don’t warrant much more than annoyance.

The number one feared bug, spiders, do nothing for me. I once had one living on my computer monitor for a year. I named him Douglas and often bitched at him to get out of the way when he’d decided to descend on a string and swing in front of the screen. Even getting bitten in the face by a spider didn’t cause me to turn on them.

I guess the whole bug fear thing baffles me because I can’t relate to it. I don’t get being afraid of something so much smaller than you. I can understand being wary of some bugs. Some spiders have really nasty venom and some bugs can be a bad sign for your house-life (hello, roaches and ants). I can understand not liking them. I’ll be the first to admit, they’re hard to like.

But I can’t relate to being afraid of them.

It actually makes me feel pretty weird. Like there’s a part of my brain not properly functioning. If everyone else is afraid, shouldn’t I be afraid, too? Why am I not afraid? What’s wrong with me? Am I broken?

And then I realized that no, I’m not broken. I’m part of a rare breed. I’m one of the un-afraids, whose responsibility in life is to protect those who are afraid. It is our job to rid the bugs from the presence of those afraid of them in order to keep the delicate peace and balance of the eco-system.

Also to tease those afraid of the bugs with the bugs, but that’s only a side-job to be done sparingly.

So, yeah, it’s a little weird that I’m not afraid of bugs, but at least it serves a purpose.

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Pregnant Lady?

As a human being, I have my quirks and my fears and my quirky fears. I chose to forego any of the typical phobias like bugs and snakes and decided to jazz up some of the more traditional fears like heights and death. I can only guess at the sources of some of these out of the ordinary hang-ups. Friends and family have no desire to understand them. They just filed them in the “weird” column of my personality and moved on.

So, what scares me?

Mascots- Okay, lots of people have this one. I’m definitely not alone. And it’s more of a love-hate thing with them. I think mascots can be a lot of fun and very funny. I just don’t want them close to me. I don’t want them coming at me. I don’t want them interacting with me. Mascots are fine…over there.

The big headed mascots really freak me out. The bobbleheads at Chase Field, the Presidents at Nationals Park, Rosie Red at Great American Ballpark. I don’t even like seeing them on TV. I don’t think I could handle them so well in person. There’d be a lot of walking in the opposite direction.

This is a late blooming fear, as I don’t remember ever having a problem with mascots before my twenties. Even at DragonCon, people in certain mascot-like costumes caused me concern. The Pennywise Clown, complete with balloons and evil grin, in the elevator, however, did not.

Pregnant Women- I think this is a product of seeing Aliens at a young age. While I fully understand and recognize how amazing it is that you can grow a living creature inside of your body, you’re growing a living creature inside of your body and it’s going to want to come out. I see a heavily pregnant woman and I think it’s just a chestburster incident waiting to happen. And no, I don’t want to feel the baby kick because I don’t want to be too close when it decides it’s done incubating and claws it’s way through your belly button.

Okay, that’s ridiculous and I know it and considering the fact that people close to me have been bearing children pretty regularly for the past ten years, I’ve had lots of opportunities to plaster a smile on my face and pretend not to be creeped out by the fact that there’s something MOVING in my friend’s gut.

I imagine that should I ever get pregnant, I’ll spend the entire time pretty skeeved out and possibly flapping my hands like a girly-girl that’s just seen a spider every time the kid moves.

Wait. Why would I even consider getting pregnant if I’m scared of pregnant women? Hold that thought. I’ll come back to it.

Falling- I don’t mind heights. I don’t mind being in high places, looking out over the land, taking in the view. I don’t mind working on roofs or climbing ladders. I love ferris wheels and the Power Dive at Great America. I have no trouble with heights.

It’s the falling from heights that bothers me. I don’t get too close to the railing. I don’t like other people to get too close to the railing. We were sitting over the bullpen in Kansas City and this guy carrying his baby boy stood next to us and the whole time I was in a highly tense state because his baby was too close to the edge. Logically, I know that Daddy isn’t going to drop the baby, but on the other hand I have this overwhelming desire to not risk it and please step back, sir, you are making me nervous.

And it’s not just high places that this bothers me. It’s stairs, too. I am quite careful going up and down stairs because I’m terrified of falling down them. I think the last time I actually fell down a flight of stairs I was probably three or four and I wasn’t hurt. But be sure that if there’s a bannister, I’m hanging on.

Corpses- Yeah, I don’t like dead people (most people don’t). I’m not big on dead things in general, but I really have a problem with dead people. This means that I don’t do funerals. Period. End of story. Why? There are dead people there. I find it really disconcerting that there is a corpse laid out like a Thanksgiving centerpiece in the room.

I realize that this provides comfort to most people (for some odd reason), but it does nothing for me. As far as I’m concerned, the deceased person in question is already gone; their spirit or soul or what have you has left their body and all that’s left is a hunk of spoiling meat. And I don’t want to be in a room with it.

This goes for ashes, too. My grandparents both chose cremation and no funerals, which I thougth was great, but so long as Dad had their ashes in the jeep, I wouldn’t get in it. There are dead people in there. Nope. (Grandma and Papa have since been moved to Dad’s closet and I have no desire to get in there any time soon.)

Surprisingly, most of my family are very understanding about my funeral-aversion. They understand my problem with being in a room with a corpse and I’ve been given a free-pass for most funerals. Other people don’t understand it and think I’m just a selfish, uncaring bitch. And that’s fine. So long as I’m not in a room with a corpse, you can think of me what you like.

Fears are considered a sign of weakness in my family and I do my best to face them.

I spent most of the Cornbelters season getting used to Corny so I could get within two feet of him when I took my nieces to get his autograph (I still used the children as a shield). I like Corny. And he seems to respect my need for extra mascot personal space and I appreciate that.

I challenged my fear of falling by going on the Mine Drop ride at Great America (it takes you up a gazillion stories and then drops you straight down). Sure, I screamed all the way down, was shaking so hard I couldn’t get my harness off, and would never do it again, but I did it once and that’s what counts.

Same with getting pregnant. If the opportunity to have children arises, I would get pregnant despite that fear just to say I did it. Nine months is a lot longer than thirty seconds, but the reward would be greater for all of the time I’d put in.

The dead people thing I’m kind of stuck with. That’s going to be a tough one to get around. I’ve basically made a deal with myself that certain funerals I have to attend. I will probably sit as close the back as I can and do my best not to be anywhere near the casket, but I will go.

That’s right. If you’re really special, I’ll go to your funeral.