Tuesday, July 15, 2008


On my way back to my site I stopped off at a friend’s house for a get together. I could tell you about the amazing food, it being good to see friends, sleeping under the stars, or any number of other good things, but I’m going to talk about bugs.

My friend Madeleine’s kitchen has strings hanging from wall to wall. If it were a porch and the strings were thicker I would say they would be for hanging clothes, but they aren’t, so I won’t. Their function is irrelevant… what is relevant is that both strings were entirely covered in flies. I don’t know what they were munching on, but they seemed quite content. I’d completely forgotten that last summer the stagnant heat brought out all of the creepy crawlies.

We’ve all had plenty of stories relating to varmints. Josh has his mouse who has chewed a hole in every article of clothing he owns. Mara has her cockroach infestation where she was killing around 30 or 40 a night (the situation has improved… she’s down to only a few a night). Big Aaron apparently has a necklace made of legs from his Camel Spider kills. I, sadly, have not been able to contribute much to the conversation. I mean I have some huge ants that come out of a hole in the wall and march in procession across my floor and out the door, but they don’t bother anyone. There’s a beetle the size of my palm that wanders my kitchen floor at night, but the only thing he’s ever done is to secrete some smelly substance onto Barry’s hand when he picked him up. Oh, and there was the jumping spider, but it was too small to make any sort of a splash in a "one-upping" conversation about bugs and I’ve left my fear of spiders behind long ago.

Tonight I think I might have something. I don’t think it’s going to win any prizes, but I could possibly be able to join in the conversation. The thing is I don’t really know what I saw. It has eight legs… I think. The front two legs never really touched the ground and looked as if they were operating more like feelers. I couldn’t see any eyes and it was a yellowish color. The remarkable thing about this creature was the fact that it was about the size of my fist. Now when I say remarkable what I really mean is that it was fast, aggressive and didn’t so much scare me in the moment as it made me afraid to fall asleep. I couldn’t find my camera so I held up my laptop’s webcam and snapped a picture. If any of you have any idea what I’m looking at, give me the heads up, especially if it’s poisonous. I know we have a few of those around here; I’m just not sure if this is one of them.

Oh, and I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. So I got a broom and as it was crawling up the wall I swept it away. For some odd reason though I swept in an upward motion, the end result of which is that it flew up into the air, hung suspended for a moment and then when it hit the floor it scurried away. The moment of suspension was quite comical I have to admit. It had this look almost like Wiley Coyote just before he realizes that he’s walked off a cliff and is about to plummet hundreds of feet.

Why didn’t I kill it you may ask? Well, I know this may sound strange considering it is a threatening looking insect and all, but lately I’ve become loathe to take a life simply because I’m being annoyed. It’s a small thing, but in my mind I link it to a much bigger problem. I’m not the only one trying to live here so I work around it. Now I’m not saying that killing bugs is a morally bankrupt enterprise, so please don’t read that into this. I am just trying to live as intentionally as possible and I believe that there are lessons to be found in the seemingly most insignificant of places. I figure that if I don't just go around killing bugs at random, I won't be as quick to sweep my fellow human beings aside for self-interested pursuits.

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