Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Lovely Summer Morning

Today I had a pretty unforgettable experience. I'm currently a sign artist at a Trader Joe's here in Scottsdale, and this morning I was working on a sign on the front door. So I was outside painting, when a Palo Verde Beetle stumbled across the door jamb. I was pretty startled by a large bug walking across my path (and I'd say justifiably so), but it ambled on past me, and I got back to work. About fifteen minutes later I felt a tickle at my knee, so I looked down, but didn't see anything, and figured I was imagining things, still jumpy from seeing the beetle. Then about thirty seconds later, I felt a decidedly less imaginary tickle on my upper thigh, so i reflexively brushed it off, which may well have been the most horrific part of the experience, because that's when I realized there was not a bug on my pants, but in my pants. I don't think I'll forget the sensation of running my hand over that fabric-covered lumpy thing. It combines the startling experience of something unexpected in place of the familiar (in this case my smooth, jeans-covered leg) with the gut-level horror of not being able to physically separate yourself from the object of your fear. I started screaming and jumping up and down and wiggling to get it to drop down out of my pants. But it didn't fall out, and that realization brought my flip-out to a new level. I almost took off my pants right there in front of the store, but instead I grabbed the bug through the pants, ran to the bathroom, and with one hand still tightly clutching the jeans-wrapped bug, removed my pants (which necessitated first taking off my shoes) and flung them away from me. The Palo Verde Beetle started to climb out of the folds of the pants, flailing around his big little arms and antennae, til I picked up the pants and shook him out. I unfortunately killed the beetle by crushing it in my fist while running for the bathroom, which besides being gross I also feel bad about, because Palo Verde Beetles are actually harmless. But I doubt I'll ever reach a point where I'm able to calmly remove a large insect from inside my pants.