Thursday, August 14, 2008

Caterpillar hell

I have had a lifelong magnetic association with caterpillars. I have been stung by and bitten by them intermittently throughout my 48 years. If someone asks me if I am phobic about anything, it would have to be caterpillars.

I was stung by this tiny, piece of fur today. I didn't see him and was minding my own business on the bench in my backyard. The sting is on my lower butt cheek and I am sitting with a leg up at my pc as I write this.

This latest bobo just adds to my collection of stories of encounters I have had with these creatures. I think I have had a phenomenal amount of them compared to anyone else. They've happened in the most unlikely places, at unlikely times of the year.

One spring, the actual caterpillar season that we forgot about, we decided to take a walk along Bayou Coquille. There are some incredible nature trails in Louisiana. This particular trail is a favorite of mine. We stopped at the picnic area to use the restroom before embarking on the trail. The ground was swarming with caterpillars and they were dropping from the sky like a light drizzle of rain. We still needed to use the restroom, and I thought we'd be safe once inside. I held Julia's hand, and Aaron was following me, as we walked swiftly towards the restroom. I was doing chopping motions over my head with my free arm to prevent them from landing on me. We got to the bathroom and saw that the entrance was teeming with them, so we made our way back to the car poste-haste. I was screaming and doing the crazy hand-chopping motion all the way. I quickly opened the door and shoved Julia in the back seat, climbing in after her, with Aaron frantically crawling in behind me. It was every man/child for himself there. I told Michael, the driver in the front seat, to step on it. As we got going, we discovered two caterpillar hitchhikers on us, released them, and then high-tailed it out of the nature reserve. We saw pedestrians on the road and shuddered and felt sorry for them. Didn't they know those were man-eating caterpillars?

One time, I was sitting in the middle of a concrete plaza, reading a book, when someone walked up behind me and said, "don't move, there's a caterpillar on your back." She proceeded to try to scrape it off with her key, as I did the screaming heebie jeebie dance. It held on like a trapeze-artist-caterpillar. That was not even caterpillar season.

I have many other incredulous stories about incidents I've had with caterpillars. People have told me they don't bite when I tell them I've been bitten by one. I know for a fact that they do, because I've done wardances while they were clutching my knee, elbow, or other body part with their teeth, as the rest of their body swung in the breeze. Don't tell me they don't bite!


Kim Ayres said...

The catapillers round here tend to be small cute things. Clearly America is a dangerous place

Jupiter's Girl said...

I would be just as wary of Caterpillars living in your area of the world. Don't you let that small and cute appearance fool you. They're diabolocal, I swear.

Blair said...

I hate them passionately. I have a serious phobia. I live in the South and have not had many encounters with them like you have...maybe because I avoid them like the Plague...but we are looking to relocate and I have to research the areas online. My husband thinks I am crazy because instead of checking crime stats I am more concerned with the local "wildlife".

Jupiter's Girl said...

Oh yeah, you'll want to live someplace where it's cold most of the time. There's a boundary they can't cross. 4 of my sisters scream like banshees when anything flies or crawls near them. "GET IT. GET IT," they'll scream until somebody does get it. The poor thing signs it's death warrant as soon as it becomes visible.