I live in a place right now with incredibly high ceilings. 17 feet, to be exact. The ceiling is made of wood planks. I’ve seen one spider in the entire time I’ve been here and yet…
Every night right before I’m about to fall asleep, I get into position and then I do one last thing. I take the hair on the side of my head and I sweep it over my ear. I cover the opening to my ear drum. I cover all holes. My theory is that the hair swept over my ear will act as some kind of spider-guard for the gazillion arachnids that take flight in our bedroom at night. I know the minute the lights go out these guys are doing their very own version of Cirque de Soleil. One of them is going to do a flip too many and land right in my ear-hole. He’ll get disoriented. Instead of crawling out, he’ll crawl in. With each step going further and further until he reaches my brain. Where, of course, he makes a sandwich out of my grey matter.
I have an irrational bug-in-the-ear fear. I don’t know where this started, but the thought does remind me of one of those medical programs I’m always torturing myself with. It was “Emergency Blah, Blah, Blah” and the story goes – a girl, a waitress, falls asleep in her car while on break. While she’s asleep, a june bug crawls into her ear. A june bug!
The girl, having been asleep, has no idea what has happened to her. She only knows that she is now going crazy. There is an incredibly loud helicopter sound in her ear and the side of her head is bleeding. She runs around like a woman placed under a 5150. Finally, someone takes her to the hospital.
All I can think is, “What fresh hell is this?” Not an original thought, but the one I have -repeatedly- every time I think of the june bug.
When I used to live alone, I’d have irrational, “someone’s in my feckin’ house” type fears. I knew it was just me, but still I’d go, “Nope, someone’s in the shower.” It would take me all night, but eventually I’d run into the bathroom like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and throw a high kick as I ripped open the shower curtains. No one was ever there, but my heart pounded like someone was.
Back in New York, the rats could make you insane. There are something like 3 rats per person in New York city (or more). So, you would see them all the time. At night, the garbage bags would move. Whenever I saw this -and I saw it often- I would run so fast, you would think a rocket launcher had been propelled directly up my ass.
My brother decided to tell me one day that rats could swim up your toilet. From that point on, I always looked down into the pool of water before taking my place on the throne. The last thing I needed in my life was to get gently tapped from behind -literally- by the furry nose of pestilence. No. The horror that would have ensued if my lady bits had ever come into contact with ratsy parts, well, it’s more then I can put into words. But, let’s say the worst slasher film combined with all of my internal organs racing up into my throat – that’s the feeling that comes to mind.
There was a man who had a slight itch on his head. The itch turned into a bump. But, the bump didn’t hurt. So, the man went out to watch the San Francisco Giants game with his friend, as he often did. Somewhere around the 5th inning, the side of the man’s head exploded. Near the bump, there was a skin rupture, and a creature of some kind flew out of it. Yes. This happened. The man had gone abroad and a foreign-ish buggy thing had burrowed itself under his skin and became a grotesque stowaway.
Every now and again, as I’m driving my car alongside a body of water I think, “This is it. This is the day some maniac drives his car into my lane and I have to go off the bridge into the sea to avoid a head on collision.” My mind goes further. Will I be able to break the window before my car sinks? What should I break it with? How long until I become hypothermic? I don’t want to go out like that.
I roll down the window and the strong, crisp, winter wind hits my face. I’m back. Normal. Present. Shaking my head and going, “Now, that was silly.”
But, still, I cover my ears at night.
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