I have a bit of a thing about bugs around my head. I’m not quite sure how it began, possibly because of the following…

Buggy Story #1

I used to have very long hair as a child and I would have nightmares about grasshoppers and praying mantises (manti?) getting tangled irretrievably in my hair, and of being unable to remove them without squishing them into a tangle of carapace, guts and hair. This never actually eventuated (yay!) but I did have a boy once put a grasshopper on my head when I was about 11.

We’d just come back into the classroom after lunchtime and he had a lovely green surprise waiting. Fortunately, the bug disentangled itself quite easily when I flicked it off and it went on its merry way, while I was in a state of shuddery shock for the rest of the afternoon, hardly believing that my nightmare had almost come true. (In hindsight, I perhaps shouldn’t have mentioned my nightmares to schoolfriends as this was prob’ly the instigation of the ‘lovely green surprise’…)

Buggy Story #2 

We lived in a very old house in a very small country town, growing up, and one of the things common to both old houses and the country is the huge amount of bugs living in them, so, combine the two, and there is more insect life than you can poke a stick at (or point the Mortein at). Couple this with the fact that both my parents are of the hippie-ish, ‘No,-don’t-kill-that-nasty-thing-with-the-huge-fangs-that-could-very-conceivably-kill-you,-it’s-got-a-right-to-live’ variety, and spiders were certainly a very common element of life in my house.

Consequently, I would often have a ‘happy little spider’ living in a ceiling corner of my bedroom, directly where I could glance up from my book that I was reading in bed at night. Occasionally I would look up and notice that, in a remarkably short time, the spider had scuttled many metres closer to my bed. This led to all kinds of panicky thoughts about spiders creeping down from the ceiling in the middle of the night and meandering across my face.

Even after I turned the light off and tried to sleep the thoughts would frequently become too much and I would have to turn the light back on just to check that the spider was still there and hadn’t made a mad dash for my bed under cover of darkness. (Why it would want to do this I have no idea, the thoughts were hardly logical.) I never did find a spider creeping across my cheek in the middle of the night, but I’m still a little wary.

Buggy Story #3

The third in the trilogy of ‘bad bug experiences as a child’ happened when I was 5. I had just been sitting, eating my ‘play lunch’ (Whoever came up with this name that meant both the small school break mid-morning and the food that was eaten at said break should be embarrassed.) when I felt a horrible and forceful ‘bzz’ shoot into my ear. At first I thought there was just a fly buzzing VERY close to my ear, but when I couldn’t make it go away by waving around my ear I figured maybe my ear-drum had burst or something (I was 5, kai?).

At this point the bell rang and I had to head back to class with a persistent ‘zzz’ reverberating. The realisation horrifyingly stole over me that this was something that wouldn’t ‘fix itself’ and was most likely an actual fly in my ear. Obviously I couldn’t settle in class, and kept pressing my hand against my ear, feeling a disturbing vibration far enough in that it felt like it was my brain buzzing.

Finally I had to tell the teacher that there was something wrong. She didn’t believe me at first – s’pose she thought I had an over-active imagination – but when I wouldn’t stop fidgeting and looking anxious she sent me to the principal so she could deal with it.

Well, the principal was teaching her own class (it was a small school 🙂 ) and so she sat me in the ‘Book Corner’ to see if it would ‘go away’. This normally would have been a very pleasant and privileged treat, being able to be in with the ‘big kids’ and read book after book, but I could not shake the feeling of a sinister presence in my head.

After an hour or so the buzzing became fainter and less frequent but I still was aware that the problem hadn’t ‘gone away’. The school eventually called my mum, who picked me up and took me to the hospital. After a short ear inspection the nurse confirmed that no, I wasn’t making it up, I did, indeed, have an insect in my ear – a flying ant.

The removal process was unpleasant. The nurse had to fill my ear with liquid (warm water?) and suck it all out with a big bulb syringe. It didn’t feel good, but I did feel relieved that I had been vindicated. *smile* I think the nurse even let me keep the bug in a specimen jar so I had proof.

Hence, I don’t think my ‘no bugs around my head’ rule is overreacting. 



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