Tuesday, August 2, 2011

excuse me, while i scream....

i was minding my own business.

i had picked out my own little corner of the pool to lay on my raft. and read my new book. my new hardback book. i know that most normal people don't take books into the pool with them. but, i don't consider myself to be normal in any sense of the word. and i am very careful not to let it get wet.

there were quite a few people out this day, both in the pool and laying out on chairs on the deck. daddy was sitting in his chair under the only shady spot at the pool, drying off and taking a cat nap. so his eyes were closed. but, he could still hear all the things going on around him.

let me stop here and explain something. there are many different types of screams. there is the one where you raise your voice a few octaves higher than normal while speaking to someone to try and get your point across that you are right and they are wrong. there is the one where you have reached the end of your rope and just want to kill someone. or strangle them to the point of death. (usually a grumpy husband or a group of kids playing marco polo for hours on end when all you want is peace and quiet.) there is that shrill, whiney one that comes from an outright temper tantrum. there is even one that comes from pure, unadulterated joy. or from seeing someone you haven't seen in years. there is one that comes from watching scary movies and one when you are talking very loudly to someone that can't hear well. there are many, many different kinds of screams. and people can usually differentiate one type from another. you know when someone is screaming because they are mad, or hurt or playing or being annoying, or because they are happy. or scared.

in my family, there is a scream that is totally unique from all other screams. it is known by its sound to every single one of us. it is a scream that tops all others in its shrillness, its intensity, in the building up of the scream. it starts at the toes and spreads upwards through the body at an alarming speed, bursting out of your mouth uncontrollably. much like a menopausal hot flash. it is a scream, without question, that is one of pure terror. and just seconds after hearing it and recognizing it for what it is, it is mostly ignored by the male members of my family. if there are any other female members near the vicinity, it immediately catches on like wildfire and becomes a chorus of ear-splitting screams. it is, of course, "THE ROACH SCREAM." the males are so accustomed to hearing it that they no longer jump up and come running to see if one us might be hurt. or dieing. or being held hostage and tortured by someone who just broke into the house. they no longer think that maybe they should call 911 or that they could maybe perform cpr and save the life of their loved one. they simply hear it, and then go back to whatever it was they were doing before being so rudely interrupted.

so there i was. laying on my raft and reading. like i said, minding my own business. and then...out of nowhere...i felt and i heard the thud of something landing on my stomach. now you know for me to have FELT it, it had to be quite big. not large, like a ball or a frisbee. but not small. like a horsefly or a bee. in one fluid movement, i looked down, i threw my book into the pool, i sat up so that my raft folded up on either side of me, like a sandwich. with me being the meat. and i let out a bloodcurdling ROACH SCREAM!!! only it wasn't a roach that was on me. it was the only other insect that terrifies me as much as a roach, and it has little barbs on its legs that had attached itself to my bathing suit and i was swatting at it the whole time i was screaming and i knew i looked like a crazy idiot. but i didn't care. i wanted that THING off of me!

after what seemed like forever, its legs became unattached from me and it landed in the pool. right beside my new hardback book that was now beginning to sink. i glanced over at daddy and saw that sure enough, he had recognized the scream. and he was just sitting there. observing. everyone else at the pool was looking at me and wondering what in the world was happening and this one man ran over to see if he could help me. i'm sure that for a brief moment he thought i was being attacked by a shark, forgetting that i was in the pool and not the ocean. he was very excited and saying, "can i help you? can i help you?" but the only word that i could get to come out of my mouth was GRASSHOPPER!!!!!! i was pointing towards my book, where the thing was just sitting and the man burst out laughing and took off his shoe and scooped it up and threw it over the wall into the bushes. i apologized to the man. and thanked him. and explained that i was terrified of those things. everybody around me started laughing. and went on with what they had been doing.

daddy went back to his nap. i fished my book out of the water and set it on the side of the pool to dry out. and got back on my raft. and tried to breathe normal again.

i want you to know that this was not one of those little green grasshoppers that you always see hopping around in your back yard. this was a LUBBER GRASSHOPPER. one that is about 2 inches long and is yellow and brown and looks like he is made out of wood. with chompers that look like he wants to eat you alive! in fact, this is a photo i got of one while on a walk at a nature preserve. it was taken with a zoom lens, because i wasn't getting anywhere near him.



when i was a teenager, us kids had to take turns mowing the grass. we lived on the sugar refinery property and there was a lot of grass to cut. there were also a lot of men working at the refinery that could see every little move we made. being a girl that noticed men noticing me, i hated mowing. because stupid things always happened when it was my turn. like having these LUBBER GRASSHOPPERS get on me and me jumping off the riding mower while it was still going. or the lawn mower suddenly just cutting off, for no reason that i could see and daddy calling one of the men over from the refinery to "fix it" only to have it pointed out to me that while i was ducking under the Norfolk Island Pine trees to cut as close as i could, that the plastic gas tank had fallen off. my first husband, James, worked at the refinery, as did my brother-in-law, Glenn. (the middle-aged man who left me for greener pastures also worked there.) shortly after Landon was born, Glenn and his wife Mary, had a baby girl, Natalie. we decided that we would drive up to North FL, my husbands whole family, and go take the babies to see their great grandparents. they lived in Steinhatchee and when i say they lived in the woods, i mean they lived waaaaaaay out in the middle of nothing. our very first day there Glenn said he wanted to show me their fresh water creek. he said the water was ice cold. so, he and James and i went for a walk. down a loooooong dirt road. i kept hearing this loud noise and asked what it was. they both acted like they didn't hear anything. we kept walking. and the noise kept getting louder and louder and louder. so, i knew that they couldn't have possibly NOT heard it and i asked again what it was. Glenn started laughing and very non-chalantly said, "it's MATING SEASON for LUBBER GRASSHOPPERS!"

and the very second he said it, one of those things landed on me and you could hear my scream all over those woods. i took off running and swatting and screaming my head off, and not one person came to see what was going on. if i was hurt or being killed. if they could perhaps be a hero and save my life. i got back to the trailer the great grandparents lived in, and everyone was just rolling laughing. see, they all knew i was terrified of those man-eating critters! and they knew exactly what Glenn had planned for me. and they all thought it was just the funniest thing watching me hoot and holler. that was just plain ol' mean of them.

anyway, i survived it then. and i survived it the other day in the pool. i'm so glad God gave me the ability to laugh at myself. otherwise life would be so boring. i was a drama queen that day at the pool. everybody got a good laugh, at my expense and i didn't care one bit. a few days later i went to pick up my book to see if it had dried out so i could finish reading it. and this is what it looks like now. with the pages all stuck together.


it wasn't really worth reading anyway. so i went and bought a few paperbacks. for the pool. i figure if they get tossed in while i'm here, i will have saved myself some money on the price difference of a hard back. i guess i can consider the whole episode a lesson learned, huh?


Janet Reeves said...

I would have reacted just the same way! Thanks for the giggle. Happy Sunday!

Judy Kirkland said...

This is so funny