I’m not quite sure my fear is irrational, because there’s a valid reason I have it.
A little backstory first…
I was a latchkey kid during the school year. My mother didn’t want me left all alone every day for more than 13 hours during the summer though, so from the time I was 5 until I was 14 ( and got my first job!) I was sent away with my grandmother every summer so she could “watch me.” It was more me watching her, but that’s for another blog.
I was used as free labor from the time I could lift laundry bags and learned how to make beds. One day I was hanging laundry on the clothesline – yes, we still did it back then even though it was the 1970’s and dryers had been around for eons! I was just clipping a blouse on the line when I felt this horrible pinch on the palm of my hand. I screamed, dropped the clothespin and the blouse to the ground, and looked at my hand to find the biggest wasp I’d ever seen sticking out of my flesh, still moving.
I screamed again. This time louder, shriller, and more hysterical and then ran inside seeking help.
My grandmother was at the kitchen table, shelling peas. She threw me an annoyed glance, barked, “Why are you hollering like a banshee?” and never stopped shelling.
Through sobs and hiccoughs, I showed her my hand and explained myself.
She glanced at my hand, tsked, and said, “Go to the sink then and pull the stinger out. Then wash your hand in hot water and soap.”
No “here, let me help you.”
No, “oh you poor thing.”
No “Oh my goodness, let’s get you tended to.”
I was given orders and expected to carry them out by myself.
I was eight years old.
Think about yourself at that age. Would you have been able to deal with this alone?
Unfortunately, I had to.
Sobbing, and with the damn wasp still flapping its wings, I ran to the sink and did what I was told to.
I was terrified to pull the wasp and stinger out, esp. since the bug was still alive. I took the dish cloth used to wash the dishes in my right hand and squeezed the bug until it was dead.
A strange feeling that, for sure.
Then I tugged on the stinger. I can assure you it hurt as much coming out as it had going in.
Blood shot everywhere in the sink, more so when I ran it under the flaming hot water.
“Make sure you clean the sink when you’re done,” My grandmother said, still at her shelling station. “And get a bandaid from the first aid kit.”
Never a hug, never a kiss, never a word of “Oh, poor you.”
I’ll repeat: I was 8.
When I was bandaged she made me retrieve the blouse from where it had fallen to the dirt below and hand wash it since it had gotten dirty again when I dropped it.
To this day I run when I see wasps, bees, mosquitos, simple houseflies, anywhere in my vicinity.
Irrational fear or well-deserved one? You choose.
Let’s see what the other authors in this blog challenge are afraid of – rational or irrational though they be!
4 responses to “I’m a scaredy cat, for sure….”
Such lack of empathy.
I wish I could say I’m not familiar with that.
Oh, that story made me cringe. Sorry it happened to you. Such an experience could make anyone afraid of bugs.
Shocking lack of empathy! I could feel your pain as I read this post.
Sounds harsh, but your grandmother was probably raised like that and she probably raised her own children like that. Regardless, I don’t blame you for the fear of flying insects.