I had a kind of epiphany this morning while I was taking my walk. I've always liked to think of myself as one of those Hard Core Girls who can swim with sharks, tame lions, and live as one with the grizzlies without even smudging their make-up (even though I've never done any of those things and, in fact, seriously hate even going camping or doing anything else that might involve outdoor plumbing and no electricity); a girl who winds up dating one of those dare-devil, risk-taking celebrities, a girl who goes sky-diving or races their car in the Indi 500 and looks really hot in a jumpsuit. (Have you ever noticed that most of those girls are blonde?)
I admire those girls.
However, when a giant-ass beetle flew into my hair while I was crossing the street this morning and I screamed bloody murder, let go of the dog's leashes, and slapped myself stupid, it occurred to me that yeah... I'm not one of them. Hell, I don't even have the blonde part right (and I definitely don't look hot in a jumpsuit).
When push comes to shove, I'm a HUGE scaredy-cat.
I have no idea why I didn't realize this before. Maybe because, compared to my sister (and my husband) I'm the brave one?
(My sister literally walked on water at our family's cabin one summer trying to get away from a minnow in the American River and my husband, all 6'2 and 260 lbs of him, has run screaming down the street to get away from a dead garter snake. It's not difficult to appear tough when comparing oneself to them. I'm freaking TARZAN compared to them.)
So yeah... It seems I've been deluding myself for 48 years.
My chicken-shittedness should have been painfully obvious the time I beat a baby bird to death when it seemingly dropped out of the sky and landed in my hair. Between jumping up and down, screaming like a banshee, and whacking myself upside the head, I managed to create an awesome memory for my children (and all the neighbors and THEIR children) and commit bird-a-cide all at the same time.
(Seriously... who does that happen to? Who has a baby bird that is just learning to fly LAND ON THEIR HEAD? Me, that's who.)
I have driven across 6 lanes of freeway in southern California without once looking to see if any other cars were coming because a BEE flew into my car. I careened over to the side of the road, leaped out of my car, and ran screaming in circles waving my arms (Stationary Panic... that way you can flip out and go nuts without running too far or getting lost) until I saw the bee fly out and away (and no doubt into someone ELSE'S car). (Have I mentioned how much I hate bees? Or anything else that has wings and flaps around my head?)
I almost drowned myself the night I was having a late night dip in my mom's pool and saw a GOPHER swimming towards me. I shrieked, inhaled half the pool, and then attempted to RUN out of the deep end (without my feet ever touching bottom) before that little sucker got close enough to me to latch on (at which point I would have died. Seriously). (My mother calmly came outside, disgustedly told me to stop making so much noise, picked up the pool skimmer and rescued it. Who cared about her daughter having a heart attack and dying at the other end of the pool?) That was in 1983 and I haven't gone swimming at night since. (You never know when another gopher might accidentally fall in.)
(Did I also mention how badly rodents skeeve me out? I wouldn't even hold my pet bunny when I was given one for Easter when I was 6. His name was Domino and I was terrified of him.)
One memorable day, when I was working with a special needs child in a regular ed 2nd grade class, one of the other students had brought her *gag* *shiver* pet RAT to school. All the little children and their teacher happily took turns holding him (believe me, it was a HIM. Rats have HUGE balls, yo) and then...
She came to me.
Child: "Here, Miss Dani... do you want to hold him?"
Me: *shrinking back and trying not to look at it... they can sense your fear, you know* "No, no... that's okay."
Child: *as she's putting it on my shoulder* "He's really sweet!"
Me: *leaping up as if someone had dumped boiling water on me* "EEEEK! ACKKK! EEEEEK!!! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!"
Fortunately, the wee little gross and disgusting mutant germ children found this way more humorous and entertaining than anything, so I didn't scar them for life, but there was simply no way in hell I was touching that rat.
On the plus side, we can all rest easy in the knowledge that there is absolutely no way I will be one of those people who winds up being filmed posthumously on Fatal Attractions on the Animal Planet network.
Every cloud... am I right?