I spent five months having a wide variety of bugs try to enter my body through any orifice possible. They tried to bite me, suck my blood, blind me, annoy me, scare me, this list goes on and on. But my experiences with bugs on the AT bothered me much less than finding an unending supply of a small, fluttery, mystery bugs in Kyle and mine’s room last night. I can’t tell you what they were or from whence they came but once we had noticed them and begun attempts to destroy them a relentless stream began to appear. We panicked, smashing them right and left with a handy croc (yes, the crocs are still in business), ducking and weaving before their fluttering cloud. Finally, we seemed to diminish their numbers, until one decided to dive into my ear in the middle of the night, causing me to awake in a scrabbling mass of covers and sheets, smacking myself until I was sure it was gone. I spent the rest of the night awake, paranoid and itchy.
It is a strange thing, how much more offensive bugs are inside a house vs out. A bug outside in a nuisance perhaps, really annoying if they get bad, can even ruin your day or drive you crazy. If they land or crawl on you, you might swat at them. But inside the bug or bugs suddenly become an invasive enemy. It has crossed into your territory and it must be destroyed. This was not the first time I had experienced the strange and terrifying feeling of finding an infestation of bugs inside. I have had two other experiences that still raise the hairs on the back of my neck when I think about them.
The first was when I was living in Mexico. I had these plastic DVD cases that had been stacked on my desk for a while after I had taken the DVDs out to put them in a better carrying case. The plastic of the cases was akin to cellophane. One day I was doing some tidying and went to throw them out, only to discover that tucked away into the crevices and folds in the plastic were white silky cocoons. I was standing there confused when my vision focused on the wall behind the desk and inching up the wall where three maggots. I mean, they weren’t exactly maggots, because who has ever seen a maggot move like an inch worm? But if an inch worm took on the appearance of a maggot and left a trail of slime behind it, this is what you would have.
Suddenly they were everywhere, inching over the end of my desk, across the floor, making their way out of my books and paper. I began to panic. I had been talking to one of my good friends on skype when I discovered the infestation and she screamed helpful cleaning tips to me as I sprinted around the room, spraying strange Spanish labeled cleaners I had found under the sink with abandon. I didn’t sleep well for days, imagining those slimy maggots dropping from the ceiling.
The next incident took place in my college house. It was a big old house and we had a fireplace in the basement and on the main level that never got used. Something must have died in it and nurtured a colony of maggots that, one day, blossomed into giant black flies that started flooding out of the hearth and into the basement. I lived in the basement so it was imperative to me that the flies be eradicated. None of my other roommates seemed to care but I was able to enlist the help of a friend, and now that I come to think of it, it was the same friend who was on skype with me during the maggot ordeal in Mexico. Together we pumped enough Raid into the large room where the fireplace was to give the entire block cancer and sealed the doors shut with towels. We decided to quarantine the room for a few days, but unfortunately a few flies had escaped. For hours we were haunted by their buzzing. We would be upstairs in the kitchen nook studying when suddenly one would buzz in slowly, only to drop out of the air and fall onto our Biology books, his Raid saturated system twitching and sending us into hysterics. That night she stayed at my house (I had a king sized bed) and we had just turned the lights out when a fly that had been hiding in my room decided to take flight. We instantly sat bolt upright, screamed and proceeded to kill the fly and check every nook and cranny for more. For weeks after that I would start if I so much as saw a fly.
After hiking the AT I thought I would be better with bugs, even inside ones. I thought I would be able to say to myself, “Oh Lindsey, you dealt with much worse than that on the AT! Just suck it up already!” Clearly the AT helped me grow in some areas but this wasn’t one of them.