Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

June 2, 2013

The bugs of summer

— — No one ever tells you that adulthood means disposing of bugs, spiders and creatures of all kinds and sizes. It is one of those realizations — like the day you find the spider in the shower — that makes you realize you are now protector of the fort.

In the last five years, I have stood on top of chairs, often on my toes, to reach an intruder on the ceiling. Or I have chased a horse fly with the latest copy of a magazine. I would trapped them in the windows, only to swat and miss over and over again. Like Bruce Willis in “Die  Hard,” it became a test of skill, both physically and mentality. One night last summer, I refused to give up. I ended up doing a victory dance right before midnight.

The first official day of summer is still weeks away, but the party has already started at my house and even at the office. I can hear them buzzing around or spinning their webs.

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It is a shame I no longer want to put bugs in jars. When I was a young child, I spent hours catching crickets, looking at ladybugs and chasing lightning bugs. The other creatures — spiders, fire ants and bees — were kept at bay by my protectors, also known as mom and dad. They always came running, paper towel in hand. My mom wasn’t fond of bees or spiders either. Especially, the bees. A few nasty stings at the state fair left painful memories. So I spent a majority of summer dodging bees. I did good until last summer when I got stung four times in less than a month, a new personal record. Obviously, bug catching is not on my list of fun past times anymore. Somewhere, along with a dozen other transitions between childhood and womanhood, I saw bugs less of a science experiment and more of a nuisance.

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One of the best things about young adulthood is moving out, finding that first apartment or putting a down payment on a home. It means bills, trips to home improvement stores and steady relationships with things like lawn mowers. It also means you are the protector of your home. The bugs don’t knock; they crawl and fly in with little or no care of my personal space needs. I still scream when I am surprised by a spider on the wall. I mutter in frustration at the fly. There is no one to listen to my complaints. I am queen of the fortress, paper towel and magazine in hand. This week, I encountered a spider in a strange place, on my desk at work. The little eight-legged creature was hanging on my lotion bottle. Caught off guard, I made a gasp. I had no paper towel in hand. Reporter Greg Jordan came to the rescue. But being gentle hearted, he didn’t want to kill the spider. He started to brush it off into a plant near my desk. Way too close for my comfort, so I requested he escort the spider outside.

Some of my summer fears are centered around bugs and spiders. In the late ’80s, I remember watching an episode of “MacGyver” where a man died after being covered with fire ants. I was deathly afraid of stepping on ant hills for months. I am no longer afraid of ant hills anymore; I sweep them away with a broom. However, I am still terrified of walking in a spider web when I walk down the porch steps in the early morning light. Or being trapped in the car with a bee while driving down Route 460. I think about those things, especially on a hot day when bees hum lazily on the bushes outside the Telegraph.

The bugs of summer are back.

Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at jparsell@bdtonline.com or on Twitter @BDTParsell.com.

 

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