Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The One Where I Discuss My Irrational Fear of Slugs

There aren’t many things that truly horrify me. I can watch disgusting films where people are disemboweled, I have gotten over the grossness of bodily functions after the first time I was peed on, barfed on, and I still have to change diapers on a daily basis. Sometimes a child will hand me food that has been half chewed because he or she doesn’t like it. If there is nowhere else to put this wad of pickle, or candy, or sandwich, sometimes I just eat it. The only thing in the world that creeps me out—I mean really makes my skin crawl—are slugs. Yes, I live in the Pacific Northwest. This isn’t exactly the optimal location for a person with an irrational fear of slimy gastropods.

When I was a kid we used to go for walks on the nature trail near my house and every time I saw a giant spotted yellow banana slug I would scream like someone had just been murdered right in front of me. I couldn’t jump over it, walk around it. I would stand petrified until my mother would talk me down and I psyched myself out to scoot around the enormous blob.
Last year was by far the worst year ever for my slug aversion. The past summer slugs were out every night around 10pm. This was the witching hour for slugs. While I was still sitting outside in my back yard enjoying a late night margarita or can of PBR, you could see them inching out from under the back porch, climbing up over the curb of the cement patio. The worst nights were those when the slugs would find their way up the middle of the back door and stick there like gooey suction cups. It was too much. My skin is crawling just thinking of it. I would make my husband go out and remove all slugs before I could make my way outside.

I hate them so much and I don’t know why. The idea of touching a slug brings me to near fainting.

There was a morning last fall when I was making pancakes in my kitchen and I stepped on something just a little too squishy, and that was it. My two little kids watched as I screamed so loud and so high pitched, I scared the pajamas off of them and they both started crying. I ran to my bedroom, woke up my husband, and forced him to get the itty bitty slug out of the house. It was the worst thing that has ever happened.

I could not figure out how a slug could infiltrate the walls of my crappy rental house, until one evening I saw one crawl under the gap between the front door and the carpet (I mentioned my house was close to being a cardboard diorama of a house?) I sat in my chair and watched, petrified, without my husband around to save me, as the slug inched his way in. There was no way I was going to do anything about it. I couldn’t. Miraculously, the slug inched his way back out again. He must have sense my high pitched, supersonic scream about to burst forth and high tailed it out. We have since installed the weather stripping the door needed, not to keep the house from the hurricane strength drafts we endured for four years, but because there were slugs. I can’t have that.

Last Saturday was one of the most beautiful days we have had all spring. My daughter’s friends were gathering out in the yard for her birthday party, I was in the kitchen making small talk with moms. I looked up at the seam of the back door and noticed an odd splotch. It was right at eye level, nearly fossilized, and slug shaped with a line of dried yellow drip that ran down to I don’t know how far because now that I know what it is I will never be able to look at it again. I can’t figure out how a slug could crawl into the door jamb, have the door close, and not ever fall out. I can’t believe I just wrote a whole page about slugs. It was not at all cathartic, and I have no idea who is going to scrape off the remains stuck in the door frame.

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