Friday, May 31, 2013

Texas Terror

If you've been a reader of this blog at any point in the past few years, you probably know about some of the many "opportunities" to bond with bugs and wildlife that come with living in Texas. There's been the spiders, the lizards, the scorpions, the snakes, the rats, the coyotes and foxes, the wasps, the bees, and the arma-god-damn-dillos.Oh, and the longhorned beetle, of course. (To be fair, though, that last one I probably imported from New York by means of Thailand.)

I don't know why, but I thought I'd acclimated to my surroundings a bit since we moved two years ago. Then the temperatures started to rise. And when temperatures start to rise again in Texas, ALL THE EVIL THINGS COME OUT TO PLAY. And then I'm reminded that Texas is not my home, will never be my home, and IS ACTIVELY TRYING TO KILL ME WITH FEAR.

Texas is a terrorist. There, I fucking said it.

I was mowing the lawn last weekend, for example. I hadn't worked much through the yard before it began to revolt. Camouflaged bugs were jumping up my legs, wooly caterpillars suddenly appeared by the fucking dozens (one wooly caterpillar, fine...DOZENS MEAN AN ARMY IS FORMING, NOT FINE), and one particularly aggressive lizard seemed to be following me with a menacing glare and a sidearm. How I managed not to run that motherfucker over is beyond me. Any neighbors in the vicinity must have been confused by the loud humming of the mower interrupted by my TERRIFIED IN EARNEST shrieks every 45 seconds or so as I struggled to remove the wildlife from my limbs. I finished the lawn, but not without losing my pride and any will to go outdoors until the month of November.

The problem, now, is that my disdain for the great Texan outdoors may be spreading to my children. My eldest, Plus One, was outside the other day playing with a gliding toy he unearthed from the playroom. He was having great fun launching it from atop the swing set fort, probably contemplating how awesome it was to be my son, when I heard a familiar sound.

AAAUUURRRRUAUAHGHHHAHAHHAHHHHAAAAEEEEEEEAAAAKKKKKK!

He came flying in through the back door, tears coming down his cheeks.

He'd encountered a bee, he told me, that was flying around the grass and it was now TOO SCARY to go back outside EVER AGAIN. His toy had been tossed and abandoned as his body twerked with fear-fueled adrenaline and this was THE WORST DAY EVER.

I gulped. This...I think this was my fault.

I took him by the hand and we went outside. I saw the bee-thing he saw and USED ALL MY SUPERPOWERS not to jump on my kid's back and demand he take me inside before the bug ate my face off. We even looked for his toy a bit, with brief retreats to the safety of the porch when the BEE THING got too close.

(I say BEE THING because obviously it's not a regular bee if you're in Texas. This one was feeding off the grass and moving around almost like a hummingbird. I'm not certain it wasn't some new breed altogether that some wily Dr. Frankenstein coyote patched together in the back field. At the very least I'm sure it has twelve lives and infinite supply of stingers.)

After a while, we went inside to research the BEE THING in an attempt to quell the fear, but I fear that may have only made matters worse. As Google loaded images of potential BEE THING creatures, my son's eyes widened to the point they were nearly taking over his face

So, anyway, I think we have our Summer Project in the works: reintegrating to the great outdoors, perhaps some bug research, gathering some coping tools for fear...you know, the general unfucking of my child. What are you guys up to?