I was in the shower this morning when I suddenly had a very clear memory of washing my hair in the sink as a preteen. Sounds innocuous, right? But I had very long hair and it used to go down the drain as I washed it. Like, the hair still attached to my scalp. Went down the drain. Down it. Not to mention it touched the entire inside of the sink bowl. Where you wash and rinse your filthy hands. And spit your toothpaste. This struck me as one of the grosser things people do without even realizing it's gross. But yes, I survived, scalp intact.
Still, it made me remember back to a
I used to build "birds' nests" out of long strawlike grass, dirt, and water. I would make mud from the dirt and water, and take the straw grass and swirl it around in an old margerine container (which we used for cereal bowls before being told that to wash and reuse those plastic tubs CAUSES OMG CANCER). Then I'd apply the dirt-mud everso lovingly with my hands, patting, patting. Then I'd just carry on with life. Play on the monkeybars, go eat a sandwich, pick my nose, whatever. I have no memory of washing off the dirt-mud. Yet somehow, I survived mud.
I used to catch spiders and keep them in jars. This is less a germ thing than a phobia thing, because you see, these days I am terrified, TERRIFUCKINGFIED of spiders. I recently heard this gem of a fun fact, that wolf spiders (which we have in great quantities around the Pacific Northwest) carry their fucking young on their hairy furry backs. So every time you see a wolf spider, it likely has a billion tiny wolf spiders riding around piggystyle. I've had horrific nightmares ever since.)
Point is, I am seriously, not just casually but seriously, afraid of spiders. But I used to catch them, play with them, observe them, attempt to feed them bologna, love them.
One time in 2nd grade, we all caught spiders for a class project, and mine was this enormous specimen the color of butter, with a great vast abdomen which I assumed to be full of wee butter-colored spiders. I loved her. Oh how I loved her. I'm sure I named her Charlotte of some bullshit.
I had her for weeks, and then when it came time to release our beauties back into the wild, this one fucknoggin named Luke Krupski (the same Luke Krupski whom I used to have a crush on, the one who puked all over during my 4th grade Year of the Stomach Flu) squished her. Squished her dead. Within seconds of my releasing her, he stomped on her and gave a wild crazed chuckle as he did so. I cried, I literally sobbed for dear Charlotte. Because back then I did not scream, break a sweat, and piss my pants every time I saw a spider. I caught them and loved them. Yet somehow, I survived spiders.
In a similar vein, one time when I was about 8, my favorite cousin Sara and I went on a day hike with the family. Now, she and I did all kinds of gross shit--we caught fat toads, held tadpole eggs, drank pond water, ate mayonnaise straight from the jar (bygones), rubbed moss on our wounds, kissed the drippy noses of horses, etc. When I visited her in the country, we lived it up in the wild. But this one time, her family and I went on a hike to a beautiful river near Sultan, WA. Sara and I discovered that everywhere we looked were these things called periwinkles. Wikipedia tells me that these are actually called Caddisflies, or more specifically, Caddisfly larva emerging from case made of plant material.
When we caught these, they looked like inch-long hollow brown sticks, open at both ends. Then a tiny little creeping thing would stick out its legs and they could scuttle all over. OH MY GOD I AM RETCHING AND HEAVING JUST THINKING ABOUT THEM. So anyway, Sara and I caught a shitload of periwinkles and kept them in this tupperware bowl and decided in our genius to bring them home with us. Well. Apparently, when kept out of water, or at room temp or just when ready to hatch, or whatthefuckever, they fucking crawl. ALL OVER. So we had dozens of periwinkles escaping our plastic bowl in the car on the ride home from our day hike. Periwinkles everywhere. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. My cousin and I eventually had to clean out the car by ourselves and rid the entire place of Caddisfly larvae. Yet somehow, I survived periwinkles.
I used to share gum with people. If my little BFF Natasha had a piece of gum and I wanted some, she'd bite her current wad in half and give it to me. Like, the piece that was actually chewed up in her mouth. She'd "share." And I'd eagerly accept. If Peggy wanted some gum and I was snacking on one, I'd spit out a piece for her and she'd take it. I also used to share bites of everything, sips of everything, and licks of things like Ring Pops. I want to vom as I type this. Yet somehow, I survived sharing gum and candy.
I guess the point is, humans are resilient. We can survive gum-sharing and caddisfly larvae and mud. Maybe I should be less vigilant and less freaked out about germs? Then I think of how hard the common cold affects me, and I want to burn down the world and drown it in hand sani and bleach.
Go with God, child. Go with God.