My parents’ house is loaded with bugs.** Spiders, beetles, unidentifiable gross crawly things that I don’t care to get close enough to identify. It’s not their fault. It’s not like they live in filth, but they do live in the woods, in a completely brick house with zero insulation. So, the only thing between them and all the disgusting creatures of the outdoors is a bunch of porous stone. Not enough.

We also often had little mice that had sneaked through some tiny crevice and then stood, stock-still, bewildered and horrified in the middle of our living room while I sat with my legs tucked up under me on the couch, staring at them, just as stock-still, bewildered and horrified as they were. It was not uncommon to hear mice scurrying around behind the paneled living room walls, and the bugs. Oh, the bugs. Daddy longlegs tiptoeing across the carpet. Moths fluttering around the light at the front door. You never knew if a dark spot on the floor across the room was a piece of lint or a creature.

I hate bugs. And, y’know, hate is not even the most accurate word. I think I probably have something bordering on a phobia. My reaction to them is irrational and visceral. Once, when I was 16 years old, my mother found a cricket in the house and was trying to shoo it back outside while I sat with my legs up on a chair, actually crying real tears. I was certainly not afraid it was going to hurt me. I just felt…I don’t know…bad. Weird. Wrong. Oogy. Squicked.  Horrified, really.

Luckily, I am married to someone who kills all the bugs for me. (And, no. I don’t mind them getting killed. I have no interest in ushering ants out the front door.) But when The Who and I travel solo, as we’re doing now, and we’re home alone at my parents’ house, as we are now, and there are icky bugs showing up all the time, who’s gonna take care of them? Luckily, so far (this trip) I’ve been able to dissociate enough to just turn a blind eye. I shooed a spider out of the suitcase tonight, for example, and promptly blocked it out as if it didn’t even happen. But that was just a spider. Is my 2-year-old still too young to be the designated bug-destroyer?

Shit. Don’t answer that.

** Ok. It’s not loaded with bugs. That’s not fair to say. But on any given summer day, I am likely to see at least four live bugs and at least two, uh, previously live bugs. In the house.

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