Please welcome today’s guest writer, Erin Koster. Erin graduated from Calvin in 2016 with a double major in writing and Greek. She currently lives in Grand Rapids and works for Mayfair Christian Reformed Church. She enjoys tea, puns, games, and pining after pretty notebooks in bookstores.
Let me begin by saying that I am not typically a person who runs out of the room screaming at the sight of an insect. While I don’t like them, and I would very often do just that when faced with a spider in the past, I was forced to overcome my fear by being the only person on my floor with a flyswatter during my freshman year at Calvin. It’s very possible I was actually the only person who would admit to having a flyswatter, because it somehow became the case that the owner of the flyswatter dealt with the bug or spider in question. After my brief tenure as the de facto insect exterminator of First Timmer, I had more or less overcome my fear of spiders and other creepy-crawly things.
Fast forward four years. I have recently graduated from Calvin and am now poised to live an adult life doing adult things with other adults. Bugs are the least of my worries.
Or they were, until the day I was in the bathroom, on the toilet, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move.
According to something I vaguely recall reading on the ever-reliable Internet, centipedes and millipedes are “easy to tell apart” because millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment while centipedes only have one. This is false. Not because this fact is incorrect, but because those things will not stop moving long enough for you to get a look at their creepy little bodies to see which legs attach where even if you wanted to. And they are fast. They’re especially fast when you are sitting on the toilet and one starts careening along the bathroom floor in your direction, striking an utter, inexplicable, primal fear into the depths of your thought-it-was-an-adult soul.
After several panicked heartbeats of watching the intruder zip along the floor next to the bathtub, I sprung into action: I fumbled with the toilet paper, fumbled with my pants zipper, and scrambled across the room as far away from the bug as possible. As it was a rather small bathroom, I didn’t get very far. I then realized this placed the object of my terror between myself and the door. It was a smart move.
Of course, if I wanted to either leave or ever be able to use this bathroom again, I would need to face my fear. It was at this point that I noticed the thing crawling close to a box of extra toiletries on the floor of the bathroom closet. In a moment of brilliance, I grabbed the box and dropped it atop my foe.
A few moments passed before I worked up the courage to lift the edge of box and learn two important pieces of information:
- The box did not have a completely flat bottom.
- The insect was very much alive.
It moved. I moved. Specifically, it made a break for freedom while I did an awkward little dance backwards and might have gasped and/or screamed a little. And then, before I could second-guess myself, I snatched the nearby package of new toilet paper rolls and thumped it down on top of the insect.
Once again, I paused. I gingerly lifted my weapon from the tile floor.
There were legs everywhere.
With all the grace of a victorious warrior princess, I gave my mortal enemy’s remains a proper burial. By which I mean I had to screw up my courage again to wipe the bug guts off the floor with a bit of toilet paper and flush them down the toilet along with what was left of my dignity.
Lessons learned from this experience:
- I have not actually overcome my fear of bugs.
- Being an adult takes courage.
Erin (’17) graduated with a double major in writing and Greek. She lives in West Michigan and fills her days with part-time work, part-time school, and full-time tea-loving, nerdiness, and wishing she had a cat.