Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Girl Who Lived

Now presenting: Gross Things I Used to Do...Yet Somehow Survived.

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 fonder more horrifying time before OCD, when I did all kinds of gross things...and yet lived. For example:

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.

11 comments:

  1. I love you, let me start with that. And also let me tell you I find this ULTRA fascinating. The whole time I was reading it I was like, see, look at how all these things can be survived and are no big deal. Yet I know that your brain won't let you agree. And that is the part that is amazing to me. Anyways...I did things like that too and I survived. And still do. The other day in my exhaustion I realized half way thru brushing my teeth that I used the hubs toothbrush. And since I was wrapping it up anyway I just finished up. AND I SURVIVED :)

    xo

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    1. Let me also begin with I Love You. :) And yes, isn't it horrifying how my brain won't be content with a "hush now, we'll all be OK if you don't Clorox the groceries"? I can tell myself that but I an so overcome with panic that I can't relax and let it be. Stupid brain.

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  2. Dits on the lurves, pal. It makes me so happy when my sidebar tells me there's a new JoJo entry! This is really interesting stuff. It's amazing how many things we can do as kids and not even have a second thought about it, and yet freak out over them as adults. Perhaps because as kids we had no concept of mortality. Only old people die, so we were immune! We could do whatever we want! Ride our bikes down a steep hill with no brakes? Go "sledding" on the giant "mountain" of gravel at the cement factory (trespassing? Meh.) Walk on train tracks, jump off cliffs into ponds without actually knowing how deep the water is... play "witch doctor" by making compresses & tinctures with completely unknown plants that just happen to be growing in the abandoned garden next door... jumping off chairs & tables and retaining walls...petted snakes... *shudders* freakin' SNAKES! Ugh.

    Just saying, whether its germs or the fear of falling on your face or breaking an ankle, I think we all look back at things that we did in our youth and wonder "WTF were we thinking?"

    I think our lack of interwebs as kids was probably also a contributing factor. Having access to too much information is both a blessing & a curse.

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    1. Lurves you too BLK! OMG @ witch doctor...how did we ever survive childhood?! But somehow we did. Still doesn't make my OCD go away, but ahh well.

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  3. Oh I hate spiders too. Particularly wolf spiders.

    I remember I went swimming with my friend Erin in the cow cistern. My mom had a FIT when she found out.

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  4. I still check back ALL THE TIME looking for a new post, Jo!
    Where are you? :(
    Lisa

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    1. Hi Lisa! Jo here. I think you can subscribe to posts to be notified when a new blog is posted. You get an email notifying you or something. Much easier than checking back all the time. :)

      I haven't thought about this blog in ages. I just...I guess I feel like a lot of my OCD is mellowing out, at least on the surface. I also have major writer' block and no inspiration as to things to blog about. :)

      I'll try to come back sometime, I swear! Thanks for thinking of me!

      Jo

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  5. So glad to hear that it is mellowing for you! I am able to do some things myself that seems so unlike me -- and it is a good thing! I still have my days, obviously but I don't beat myself up over it if something grosses me out, it grosses me out. No biggie.

    You can blog about ANYthing! Don't feel you have to blog only about "OCD crap" (as I call it) You are such a good/interesting writer that if you write about any topic - I will read it! :)

    So good to hear from you, by the way!! Made my day :)
    Lisa

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  6. Maybe an update on all things Jo? :)

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  7. I would love to hear an update :)
    Lisa

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  8. I just noticed the date on my last comment entry. It has been a while. How are things, Jo?
    Lisa

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