A Fear Of Bugs.



Seeing as it’s almost Halloween and all, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about one of my most recently acquired fears. It’s bugs. And not the creepy, crawly kind. The VW kind.

[Picture me lying on a therapist’s couch as you read this].
It all stems from an unsettling encounter I had with a particularly offensive individual. Short in stature, but big in personality, this gal had balls.

I was driving along, using my turn signal and checking my blind spot (like nice people tend to do), when SCREEEEEEEECH, that b-word cut me off! Right before a red light. With, like, three other people in front of her. I mean, it’s not like she was going to get any kind of measurable lead by doing what she did. She still got stopped just like the rest of us. The only purpose of her actions was that they totally pissed me off. Had I not been completely starving at the time, maybe I would have been able to control myself. But no. I was mad, hungry, and ready to rumble.

I could feel my blood pressure rising like a teakettle ready to sing when I decided to take matters into my own two hands. I clutched my fingers tight together, held my balled-up fists to the windshield, and let my thumbs do the talking. “Down” is the message they sent. Big thumbs down.

You might be surprised to find out that people actually act even more unfavorably to this seemingly innocent gesture than they would to, say, a flip-off. Because when this barrel of a woman came out of her car and stuck her face in my window, her evil had enough stank to melt the paint right off my Honda.

“Who the bleep do you think you are?!?!?! Open your window! Open it now! How old are you? Wow…thumbs down?! Seriously? How old are you? Tell me! How bleeping old?!?!”

I hardly felt like my age had anything to do with it. But as I sat there, my eyes glued to the red traffic light reflecting off her clean, yellow beetle, it hit me. This isn’t going to fare well for me in the long run. This is what posttraumatic stress looks like to a twenty-something copywriter with an empty stomach and a penchant for self-destructive behavior.

The rest of the story is pretty boilerplate. She got embarrassed when the light turned green and the surrounding cars started honking. She knew she’d made a fool of herself, but she still tried to save face by returning my thumbs down with an enthusiastic “up yours.” She waddled back to her ironically petite vehicle, slammed the door, and drove off.

This all happened about four months ago and since then, the fear has rooted itself so deep in my mind I’m wondering if it might sprout some kind of brain flower. A flower that looks an awful lot like the one in the stupid little vase on her stupid little dashboard.

Sadly but truly, now every time I see a yellow Volkswagon bug, I cringe and shudder. Not as much because of the incident, but because of the woman who caused it. These are the kind of people who make me want to stay home. They’re the folks who think they’re more important than everybody else. The ones who can’t just be decent. And they scare me. Deep down to my core, they do. More than possessed dolls, zombies, or the trailer for Paranormal Activity 3. They’re fucking terrifying. And now every time I see a car like hers, I have a palpable, bodily reaction reminding me of exactly that.

I hate that woman.

I hate her.

I bet she doesn’t even recycle.

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