Thursday, April 8, 2010


Usually I walk to work quickly, chin up, listening to my iPod, lost in thought. This morning I walked slowly, looking down, paying attention, trying not to step on the worms.

Poor dumb worms. They work tirelessly, making soil for us, and how do we repay them? When they come out on rainy days, we squash them mercilessly. We smash them underfoot, eviscerate them with bicycles and baby strollers, bisect them with bundle-buggies. We don't even notice the massacre.

I have a moderate position when it comes to bugs. They're life forms too, and worthy of respect. That being said, I don't cherish unconditional love for all insects.

Small bugs are OK unless they're actively trying to bite me. To me, potato bugs wandering around outside are cute. Spiders in my house don't bother me. I figure they're on my side because they eat the bad bugs. As long as my home isn't suffering from an active infestation, I can tolerate the little guys.

Medium sized bugs intimidate me. I'd rather they stayed outside. Once I lived in a basement apartment with a guy and an indeterminate number of 2-inch-long cockroaches. I was aware that in theory they are clean beasties, probably more hygienic than your average dog. But it bothered me that they didn't respect my boundaries. While making the bed, I'd flick the duvet to straighten it and a roach would pop out. It was equally un-charming to shake one out of a sweater that I had been planning to wear.

Fortunately, when our kittens moved in, the bugs, after they got tired of being played with like wind-up toys, moved out. Even more fortunately, when we moved out, none of the roaches managed to hitch a ride to our next apartment.

Really big bugs, or masses of smaller bugs, do creep me out. No problem. I don't travel to countries where really big bugs live. And I avoid cottages. The black flies and mosquitoes feel that it's their territory? That's fine. I won't be showing up to argue the point with them.

My least favourite bug encounter was

(don't read this if you're squeamish)

this time at Lime Rickey's, a restaurant designed around 1950's nostalgia. I was there with a boyfriend, one of his friends, and one of my friends. We were trying to set our friends up, so there was an awkward, first-date quality to the evening. We were all trying to play it cool and casual.

I ordered a chocolate milkshake. Drinking it, I noticed waxy pieces finding their way up the straw. I thought that the ice cream might be chocolate-chocolate-chip, or maybe it was waxy residue from the inside of the container. I had consumed quite a few of these mystery bits when something prompted me to spit one of the pieces into my palm for a closer look.

It was a leg. Definitely. A black leg, with one joint, and a yellow stripe.


Yuh huh. Play it cool. Keep it casual.

I can't remember exactly how it went from there, since this all went down around 15 years ago, but the server was summoned to our table. I presented him with my evidence. He was unconcerned. Offered us an explanation to the effect that the place next door was being renovated, and the vibrations from all the power tools were shaking bugs out of the walls. Like that was supposed to make any of us feel better.

Anyway, I didn't get to hollering, or barfing. I just asked the server to take my plate away and that was that. In the end, I suffered no ill effects.

My ex, who is still a friend, recently reminisced with me about the bugshake. "Man," he said admiringly "you sure took that like a trooper!"

If you are what you eat, I'm part bug.

How do you feel about bugs?


Anonymous said...

I often wish I was a worm. They're asexual. They breed essentially through masterbation.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Me no likey bugs! The cockroach thing would have made me a mess. However the shake thing, while disgusting, wouldn't have had me screaming. I tend to approach that sort of stuff with the attitude that I've probably eaten worse and just don't know about it so no need to freak out. ;-)

Jameil said...

I take pleasure in killing flies that are buzzing around my area indoors. I do have this weird thing about saving worms tho. I would LOSE IT if I shook roaches out of my clothes or ate bugs. NOT OKAY!!!!

Jenski said...

I get a bit grossed out by a worm covered sidewalk. After working in a basement lab, I tend to just ignore cockroaches and centipedes now, but I don't think I could have lived with them. My new apartment seems to have a plethora of bugs, so we'll see how it is come summer...hopefully they will keep my cat busy.

Kate said...

Blech. In NC, there were centipedes everywhere! Even the cats wouldn't play with them.

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: You'd like to be able to reproduce via masturbation? That could get complicated. Would you need to practice birth control on yourself? Would that even be possible? If not, you could make a lot of money selling babies to people who want to adopt.

Ron: For sure. I've heard that we all eat, like, a pound of bug parts every year, buried in processed foods.

Jameil: We're opposites when it comes to bugs. I hate to kill flies. I'll do it if I have to, but usually I try to capture them and release them outside. It's a lot of trouble for one stupid fly that's probably only got a 3-day lifespan, but that's how I roll.

Jenski: Can you imagine how it would be if humans found bugs as amusing as cats do? We wouldn't need cable TV, or video games. Bugs could provide all our entertainment.

Kate: I haven't had much exposure to centipedes. They fall into the catagory of: I can deal with one or two, but swarms of them give me the willies.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't have a problem with bugs in their proper place. If, however, they encroach on my environment, they are unwelcome pests and will meet with a brutal end.

Spiders seem to be on our side until they feed on you in the night because they can't find anything else to eat. They're the FIRST (no, the SECOND -- mosquitoes are the first) to go.

But that's me. ;)

G. B. Miller said...


I think I would have detonated over the bugshake.

As for bugs in general, I live and let live...until they invade the house.

Then, it's the choir invisible for them.

Sparkling Red said...

darcknyt: I've never been bitten by a spider, so far as I know. We co-exist in peace. The day they start biting me is the day my attitude changes. I will bite back.

G: LOL at "the choir invisible". I wonder what bug heaven is like? Full of piles of stinky garbage, pools of stagnant water, and mouldy logs with ample patches of cool shade underneath. Not much like human heaven at all.

DarcsFalcon said...

Black with a yellow stripe? What kind of bug was it? I'd have been screaming! I've had my own saying about bugs for years now: If it's smaller than me and has more than 4 legs, KILL it, with the exception of butterflies and ladybugs.

I've never come across anything bigger than me yet, but if I did, I'd probably run or hide! LOL I hate bugs! So much!