Katie’s recent encounter with the cricket reminded me that now is the time of year that the crickets begin sneaking into the house on a regular basis. Every time I pick up a towel to throw in the laundry, I must do so with caution. If there is one thing I dislike even more than bugs that would be being startled by bugs. I am officially on high alert.
Just to be clear, I am not a cricket hater. I am perfectly fine with crickets, just not in the house. Crickets are thought to bring good luck and are commonly kept as pets in cages in China. I just wonder if maybe the Chinese prefer knowing the cricket is not going to jump in their hair the next time they start a load of laundry. That could explain the cages, if you ask me.
My fear of jumping insects began during childhood. It was actually grasshoppers that inspired the most fear. Come to think of it, the fact that my grandma would warn that “they spit tobacco juice” probably didn’t help. Now we have bugs that can jump and spit. Great. Not a good combination in my book and pretty much the stuff nightmares are made of.
I can remember riding my bike on summer days and being alarmed by grasshoppers hurtling through the air at me. I was quite convinced that I was actually being targeted by these freaks of nature, that for some reason they really wanted to jump on me. And spit.
I grew up in the seventies which everyone who grew up in that time will recall was a decade of high fashion. When the weather was cool, we would ride our banana seat bikes in our bell-bottoms. That presented a whole other set of problems. The laws of physics will not be denied, when ridiculous amounts of fabric get caught in bike spokes, said bike will come to a complete stop, rather abruptly. Which of course led to disastrous consequences on more than one occasion. I can still remember desperately trying to hang on to my tasseled handlebars as my body was launched over. Not to mention the fact that it never occurred to anyone that a helmet might be a good idea.
The first real scary encounter with a grasshopper happened on a summer day and I was outfitted appropriately. By that, what I really mean is some sort of hideous shorts combined with tube socks, that were high enough to just about cover the the ever present scabs on my knees. Most likely the gym shorts were left over from the previous school year. I wish I had an explanation for the tube socks but I just don’t.
I was riding along minding my own business when I went through a grassy area. I was with a group of friends and I recall the screams when grasshoppers started jumping and flying everywhere. Somehow we escaped without any casualties, or so I thought.
I looked down at my Sears circa 1972 tube sock and realized with horror that there was a great big mutant grasshopper looking back at me. I remember screaming like a crazy person and kicking my leg enthusiastically in the hopes of removing the creature before it started spitting, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
I managed to get it off my leg with my skillful maneuvers. In fact, I think that helped me to perfect my present-day Ninja kick. Also, even though the socks must have looked pretty stupid, I recognize that they did serve a purpose. They at least served as a barrier between that bug and my bare skin. BECAUSE I DID NOT WANT ANY PART OF THAT FREAKY BUG SPIT.
If the crickets get any worse in the house, I could always invest in some tube socks to wear with my Capri’s. Either that or they’re moving into the hamster cages.
Note to self: Find out if hamsters eat crickets.