Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Improper Poll: When Bugs Attack
But the most frightening was when I lived in Richmond Hill, Georgia, outside of Savannah, and was laying sod. I’d pick up a slab and slap it against my torso and walk it to where it needed to be. One of those times I dropped the sod, a furious mass of fire ants was left. On my chest. Like a bib you might wear for eating lobster, but picture the lobsters eating you instead, hundreds and hundreds of them, in miniature perhaps, but vicious and venomous and really really angry that you just moved their house, and with no rubber bands on their little pincer claws.
I had never encountered fire ants till I moved down South. But when I did, I was shocked that Southerners matter-of-factly train their children to avoid “fahr ant” nests and then go about their business as if it’s normal to have these subjects of a sensationalistic National Geographic special living all around you.
Fire ants masquerade as normal ants, but they have a bite that stings like fire, furious dispositions, and a talent for working with their brethren until they are one oozing mass of killer destruction. I admit that even as an adult, I couldn’t resist the temptation to poke sticks at fire ant hills just to watch them come boiling up out of the bowels of hell like a mini-volcano spewing a molten mass of teaming ant-fury. If the children were bored, sometimes we’d go on fire ant expeditions in the backyard. I know it was a horrible thing to teach my children, but those creatures never ceased to fascinate me.
Which is perhaps why I was always blundering into their nests.
During the Sod Incident, they were moving en masse up my shirt, mere inches from engulfing my face like the victim in a bad horror flick. As if in a nightmare, I remember trying to scream and nothing came out but a strangled little sound. “Urk.” Which is probably a good thing, because I didn’t need to attract attention disrobing there in my front yard. I was also flailing and running faster than I’ve ever run in my life. Once in my garage, I flung my tee-shirt as far as it would go and did a heebie-jeebie dance that lasted not only through a hot shower, but through the better part of an hour, and then returned periodically throughout the day…and ever since, as a matter of fact. I am in fact heebie-jeebieing right now.
Because although that was about ten years ago, to this day I panic a tiny bit when I see an ant, even the benign Northern kind. You never know if they’ve mutated….
Have you ever been attacked by bugs?