Saturday, October 16, 2010

fear factor

Motherfucking sidewalk grates. It's like they know when you haven't shaved above your knees because that's when they choose to blow your skirt straight up; they live on a diet of small valuables and Stiletto heels (why are you walking around in Stilettos? take a fucking cab), and beneath their cold, metal exterior lies only darkness. All signs point to sinister, so I find it safe to assume this pitch blackness probably leads straight to the bowels of Hell itself.

Satan gonna grab you
I hate those things.  By hate I mean I am terrified of them. To put this into perspective for you: I am also terrified of butterflies and moths. All three are seemingly harmless, nothing antagonistic about them (you would think that). Except my idea of Hell is being pelted with angry bees, stinger side up, all the while moths and butterflies emerge from cocoons and flutter around me in a raging swirl as I plummet down an endless, dark shaft, that Taylor Swift song on repeat in the background. Forever. The one where she sings about fairytales and boys. Oh right, that's all of them.

My fear of moths blossomed when I was on a family vacation in the Caribbean. One night, I was walking back to our hotel room with my brother, when a gigantic moth the size of my 11 year old hands (they were big; I was pudgy) exploded onto the scene, materializing out of thin air/evil.  Rather than remain calm (no one remains calm) and ignore the erratic, flying monstrosity blocking my way, I elbowed my brother in the side, leaving him behind (bait) to fend for himself against the gargantuan mutant created by Satan's underlings. I ran the rest of the way to our hotel room, passing what I remember were hundreds of moths adorning hotel walls - their eyes and antennae followed me (I had offended their master, their king, and I would pay) - and bolted myself shut inside.  My poor brother arrived moments later, but I refused to open the door until I was certain he posed no threat to me (bitten by a radioactive moth perhaps? Moth Man prophecies?? Reincarnation of MOTHRA???).

artistic rendering: looking into the face of evil
For the longest time, I was certain this was the moment that began my lifelong (so far) fear of moths. Recently, however, an event that took place days before emerged from my memory.  After a long day of swimming and eating (always eating), I waddled back to our hotel room with my family. Once inside, my father, lover of windows and balconies alike, pulled across the curtain covering the window/door that lead to the outside. To my absolute horror, hundreds of moths swarmed the balcony light my parents had (mistakenly) left on the entire day.

I now associate this fear with my father, because if he had never pushed back that goddamn curtain, I never would've held witness to hundreds of fluttering wings.  Even though this fear probably would have developed one way or another on that trip (considering I was fucking surrounded by them almost the entire time), I prefer to blame my father for it because isn't that what parents are for?

Because my mom was competent enough for the both of them, and stressed all of the normal parental advice (don't eat dirt; never talk to strangers etc), my dad took liberties in the truths he relayed to his children. He told me they kept the dead bodies inside the pews in Church so I wouldn't act up. He told me his secret ingredient in everything was saliva.  His interests include gardening, eating and sugar.

my dad is a lot like Homer Simpson
But my favorite bit of advice from my dad has to do with sidewalk grates (Hallelujah everything is cyclical).  We were walking over one of them at the time. He looked down at me, saw I was focused on all that I couldn't see beneath me and said, "If these things ever break and you start to fall, make sure you stick your arms all the way out.  You'll break your arms, but you won't break your neck because you won't fall all the way down. Hopefully."

Then he cackled a little, the way dads do when they stress out their children in psychologically damaging ways.

My logical mind - the tiny, whispered voice in my head - is usually smothered by hyperbole and exaggerated thought.  I sit still in Church. I walk around (not on, NEVER ON) sidewalk grates.  I cover my ears, close my eyes and take off at a running start when a moth flies near me. This is their world. I'm only living in it.

the future: December 21, 2012

1 comment:

  1. girl you KNOW my feelings on moths and how they are straight up the incarnation of evil on earth. i could not finish the paragraph about the balcony because my skin started to crawl. one day we will kill all the moths and they will go back to hell.

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