Hokey-pokey with arachnids

Colorful, non-threatening looking little bug that was, unfortunately, not one of the bugs encountered on this trip.

Entomology could never have been my field of study because, well because I can’t even turn a magazine page if a picture of a spider in all its appendage-rich glory is on that page, but I am fascinated (read – paralyzed by terror) most certainly by arachnids and at least mildly to possibly very uncomfortable with other crawling/flying exoskeletal creatures. My test scores would have only qualified me for the class – Introduction to The Beginning of Conceiving the Possibility (and or lack of alternatives) of Living in the World amongst Species of the Genus Arachnid. (With material displaying only cartoonish-type depictions as seen in figure 1A. below). 

Figure 1A (non-threatening, non-hairy and not-even-enough-legs spider depiction)

 This latest trip to Italy provided ample reasons for me to embark on a twitchy bug-phobic journey though life, if I weren’t already so well traveled in that domain. On our 4th night there I awaken just before dawn with my well-honed bug-centric sixth sense on high alert. Bill wasn’t in bed and when I called out to him he answered in the voice of someone trying not to alarm someone else that he needed my help. Alarm not averted. I already knew. I scrambled out of bed ready to flee the house, naked if necessary, hairpins flying out from me in manner of the witch from Bugs Bunny,

anything to get away from the ominous lobster-clawed black scorpion making it’s way up the wall of our apartment. After what was surely a fairly decent impression of the Keystone Cops and the dismissal of several Rube Goldberg-esque ideas, with elevated adrenals, shaky hands and 2 brooms we finally managed to sweep the creature down 5 flights of stairs, through the front entrance and out of our lives.

But the twisted humor of the Bug Encounters Department was not so easily dissuaded.

We took a 2-day side trip to Piemonte and after a particularly amazing wine tasting at Mascarello while walking back to our car Bill began doing The Dance. No, not The Monster Mash. This is the dance one does when certain that something uninvited and unwelcome has come onto their person. To the ignorant observer this might appear as evasive maneuvers with flailing arms, wild body slappings and short semi-screams peppered with profanity. Often amusing to the observer but never so to the dancer themselves. In fact, take it from one who has been both observer and dancer more times than I care to recall, one really better not laugh. In this instance, the bee stung Bill on the neck. I laughed not. To quote Bill – “@#$^&*! bee stung me!” Like so.

A few days later back up on the lake we took a ferry to the beautiful town of Varenna. To get to the town itself from the ferry stop you must walk along the lake on a pathway that is, in many places, just wide enough for two persons to walk. After making our way in to town and enjoying a nice lunch on a gorgeous day, we walked this same path back towards the ferry stop. Flowering hedges lined one side of the path and bees or yellowjackets buzzed around the hedge. A few buzzed across the pathway. With the memory of Bill’s recent sting still so fresh in mind we decide to play it safe and run past the hedgerow. I’m blessed with a very useless sort of prescience, the kind whereby the premonition precedes the event by mere seconds, if that, or in other words, juuuuuust long enough to realize what’s about to happen and allow the dread to settle in. Just as surely as I’d known several days earlier of the scorpion making its way up the wall to come and get me, in that millisecond I knew a yellowjacket was going to fly in my mouth. And then boom! There it was. In. My. Mouth. It flew straight to the back of my throat actually, its buggy little legs and buggy little wings and weirdass little bugeyes making squirmy little bug jiggy-jiglets where no bug, living or dead, should ever be. Instinct took over. I bent over from the waist and Ka-Khaaaa! The Ka- Khaaaa sent it flying right back out of my mouth and Bill, who until then had NO idea what had just transpired, stared in amazement at the insect I had just ejected.

You’re cute but Ka-Khaaaa! Get out of my mouth!

This traumatic event seriously dazed me for a while afterward not to mention the compulsive throat-clearing it set off. No more bugs you say? I know! That’s what I wanted to say too but then…

As mentioned in a previous post, our apartment had 7 large windows without screens that opened up to insanely beautiful scenery. With the windows open (and naturally, with these windows and this view, you had to have the windows open!) there was the minor annoyance of yellowjackets and wasps/hornets coming in on a near daily basis. I say minor, as I was trying to be all cool with it thinking that it couldn’t just be our place that was being invaded, surely, and uh, since arriving there I had yet to hear/see anyone else in the neighborhood get all screechy-voiced and do The Dance and chase things around with brooms and so, well, you know, didn’t want to stick out like a Sillyhead Tourist or anything like that. Surely not. So I kind of went along with the whole minor annoyance charade as these things would fly in, terrorize us for a bit in the daytime and then fly into the lights at night and die (die! die!). Hey, the view was worth it, you know? Or was, that is, until our last night at the apartment whereupon a renegade hornet, after evidently having sampled Red Bull all day, didn’t even enter said domicile until after dark and had the energy and strength of one hundred non-zooming hornets. His wings beat so furiously dust bunnies hopped across the floor and he buzzed with the strength of a cell-phone on vibrate. We opened further windows to entice him to go back out but as we were departing early the next morning, finally had to resign ourselves to his noisy and frightening presence and busied ourselves packing and cleaning up. Bill was already sleeping soundly when I climbed into bed, first under the sheet and then, because it was too warm I kicked my feet out and Owwwww! What the heck just bit me? Intense pain that felt like someone drove a lava poisoned spike through my foot. A hot spike spiked with spikety-spikes even. Dang bite kept me writhing in pain all night! And now the picture I have inserted below won’t let me type below it…!@$#%$%^ bugs!

From now on bug, when not being deathly afraid of you, I will just silently resent you…hahaha, so take THAT!

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