I've just been the victim of some very unfair mickey-taking. I was at lunch with some friends/colleagues, and who knows why, the conversation broached a very sensitive topic of mine: winged beasts.
Anything that flies and cannot boast any vertebrae is a very intimate enemy of mine. I mean that. I could go very very mad, very very really so. Not knowing where the little bugger is and having no clues as to where it intends to go is enough for me to lose all sense of dignity, self-respect and anything that usually makes me part of that great big family we call mankind. Not to mention the shrieks. The profanities I may have to utter. Linda Blair, here I come.
It can all be explained by my very troubled past, you see. When I was just a little girl, I asked my mama what will I be. Oops, wrong text.
When I was little, we lived in Cameroon. Has any one of you lived in a country where cockroaches are bigger than a male adult thumb? Where cockroaches - which, I'll repeat so you're sure to understand, are bigger than a male adult thumb - fly? Where every year, without fail, there comes a time when locusts, biiig locusts, bigger even than the roaches, will flock to scare you (OK, me) to bloody insanity? This is a city we're talking about here, you understand, we weren't out in the wild: we had all amenities, roads were goudronnées*, phones worked fine (as opposed to what people seem to think is going on in Africa, and picturing us children going to school hurling ourselves from liana to liana, Tarzan-like, and communicating through smoke rings because people that are ignorant like that tend to mix their metaphors).
Then, when I was marginally older, I lived in Scotland. Well, I have one word for you.
Australia, strangely enough, could have been a walk in the park. Roaches I'd seen, and they don't even fly, in Sydney. And I'm not scared of things that crawl or scurry.
However, it turns out that Oz definitely has the winner of them all. Bogongs. God, they are scary. The sheer multitude of them makes me shiver all over again, just looking at the picture. They're huge, they're gross, they're overwhelmingly too many, and they're sneaky too. You think you left danger behind when you walked through the porch and survived. Oh no. Because they came into your flat through the air-con ducts. Oh and they snuggled into your pillow. Or between the mattress and the wall. Or anywhere that is guaranteed to have you fly screaming like a banshee at the sight or, eeeeeew, feeling of them.
I can't believe that people would take the mickey when I tell them about the trauma.
Please tell me that you have phobias too, and that you have made a fool of yourself in front of clowns, mice or teddy bears. I won't laugh. Promise.
*sorry, but as Zoe pointed out in the comments, I don't know the proper word