I have one really out-of-control phobia.
It has been dormant for a while, but last night it was back with a vengeance.
I am really scared of locusts. They creep me out something terrible. I’m talking about those big, ugly ones. Just typing out the word makes a shudder go through me.
I can’t find the scientific term for a fear of locusts. I suppose it’s something along the lines of locuphobia.
While reading the list of phobias (and there are some pretty whacky ones, believe me) I realised I have a couple of others, more low-grade. Locusts are in the number one slot.
I also have a fear of fire, called either arsonphobia, or pyrophobia. And one of crime, but I think that is shared by all South Africans.
Some fears are acquired, but some are just inherent, I think.I have acquired a fear of ms relapses. But I have an inherent fear of fire and heights.I can’t work out whether my phobia of locusts is inherent or acquired. A bit of both, I think.
I hate, hate, hate locusts. Ugggghhhh!
The reason for this post is that I’ve had altercations with a locust, last night and this morning. Michael was watching sport on tv last night, and I was upstairs, in our bedroom. I can’t remember how it came about, but after I’d been in there for hours, I suddenly spotted a medium to large, brown locust (actually more large than medium) Draped on my drapes. Yip, hanging on my curtains like he had every right to be there. I was about to summon Michael to do some sort of extermination, when I decided not to be a complete wuss and do the job myself. (oh, I just remembered how I spotted it, I was closeing the window because it was getting chilly and then I saw it was right next to my bloody face) So I very gingerly opened the window, reversed the curtain, aligning it with the open window and flicked the back of it, hard. Yay for me. I closed the window, drew the curtain closed again, and leaned back, feeling inordinately proud of myself, savouring the feeling. Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Then I looked up, and there it was again!! I let go of an involuntary shriek. And let me just add at this point that I think it’s pathetic when women scream at mice and spiders etc. Obviously not as pathetic as screaming at a harmless oversized grasshopper. But I just can’t keep it in. It comes barrelling out of my mouth before I can stop it. I just find them so gross.
So Michael calls up, “What’s wrong?”
Me: Locust is what’s wrong.
That explains it all. Michael knows about me and locusts.
Once, before we were dating, we were playing golf with his best friend (who I was seeing at the time, and I use the word in it’s loosest form) and my best friend. The best friend (his) thought it might be funny to throw a massive locust at me. I, of course, went completely beserko. Nearly hysterical. Not my finest hour.
Anyway, I tried to get rid of my friend for the second time last night. Same tactic: lining it up with the open window and flicking it out from behind the curtain. This time I was convinced that it was gone. I tentatively pull the curtain aside to make sure, nd there it is sitting, RIGHT NEXT to where I am holding the curtain, at sodding eye-level. To me. Another scream. Damn, for someone who’s trying hard not to be a wuss, I’m sure acting like one. Michael blithely ignores all this, watching some sports show which I’m sure is not as entertaining as my shenanigans. Humph!
I have memories of driving a car, very shortly after getting my licence, right through a cloud of locusts. Those big grass-green ones, with the red underwings. I was avoiding them like I was playing space-invaders, all over the road, both lanes. I was truly a danger that day. Luckily there wasn’t much in the way of traffic that day. But that is the extent of my revulsion. I can’t even hit them with my car!
Anyway, I flicked the pestiferous thing out of the window again. This time I was 100% sure that it was gone, as I was leaning half out of the window with the curtain with it. But I still made Michael close the window when we went to sleep, and check behind the curtain.
This morning, I wake up to the sound of it beating its wings furiously behind the curtain. I was half-asleep, but instantly awake, and under the duvet. Where I remained till I got up. I’ve barely been back in my own bedroom the whole day. Our computer room is adjacent to it, and it’s all I can think about. I haven’t actually seen it today, but that oh-so-familiar whirrrrr of wings gave the game away.I feel so grossed out to think that it may still be in the house with me.
I know logically that they can’t hurt me, but they CREEP ME OUT!!
Strangely, I don’t mind a Praying Mantis (although I’m not that crazy about them) and I’m actually quite fond of crickets. Weird. I’d even take a parktown prawn over a locust.
Okay, maybe not!
My earliest memory of The Locust was when I was maybe six or seven, and a truly gargantuan specimen did the whirrry thing around my head and landed on my shoulder, where it proceeded to inch it’s way up my neck. Little sister was with and I sent her with an urgent message for help. She disappeared, and unfortuately for me, noticed that Maya the Bee was on the tv. So she watched Maya for 20 minutes and eventually sidled back out, where I was still frozen to the spot, too scared to move (at that stage I still thought they were mortally dangerous, I mean have you seen the spikes on them legs??) She went back in the house and returned with help, and the offending insect was unceremoniously flicked off. I think I spent the rest of the day shuddering to myself. Yuck.
As it is, I’m really jumpy today, and everything that touches my skin, is a locust. In my head, anyway.
I doubt I have any readers left at this stage, but here is my last Locust Story. I’d like to say this has all been tongue in cheek, but that would just be a lie. Well, mostly. I may have been exagerating just a tad. I have a penchant for doing that when locusts are involved.
Anyway, picture this. I’m in high-school, with thick winter stockings on. We’re all standing in the quad, waiting for morning assembly. I hear the dreaded whirrr and know exactly what it is. I look around nervously, and sure enough, out of 1000 plus girls and boys, it is making a bee-line straight for me (you know what I mean). So it lands on my upper-thigh, and no, my skirt wasn’t that short – it elected to fly up it. Not only that but it got its little claws stuck in my stockings. So I was going ballistic, and trying to beat it off, but it was stuck and beating its wings furiously, showing off its disgusting pink-red underwings. I tell you, they almost had to sedate me. Is it any wonder I hate the things so?
Worst of all, were the ones I saw in the then Eastern Transvaal when I was on Veldschool. They were in a whole swarm, and were pitch-black, with bright red underwings. They looked as if they came straight out of hell. I swear they even had horns. Lemme see if I can find a photo…
Nope, can’t find a picture. Obviously too disgusting to be posted on the net, and that takes some doing. They are, apparently, high in protein and fat, and supposedly form a valuable contribution to the African diet, though I think I’d rather die of hunger than eat one. I don’t think I’ll ever be that hungry.
Okay, I’m done. And if you’re still reading – don’t you have anything better to read, lol.