No Escape

I despise creepy-crawlies. Despise. This means, of course, that they seem to be almost magnetically attracted to me, making it near impossible for me to escape them. You’d think growing up in the islands would have steeled me to their ick-factor, but instead, I’ve simply had all that many more moments in my life where the island’s Creepy Crawly Contingent has continuously invaded my personal space.

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Exhibit A: The Millipede Family Circus

Not just once, but twice in two weeks I have had a millipede (those chubby, black, many-legged creatures) throw itself at me. I know what you’re thinking: Millipedes don’t fly! They cannot hurl themselves! Well, I hate to break it to you, but they do. Defying logic, they manage to fly at me. The first incident occurred when I was driving in my car with the window open. All of a sudden – THWACK! A millipede came flying in the window, smacked into my chest, and finally settled into its new home on the floor of my car (whose presence was re-confirmed later when it decided to crawl up my boyfriend’s leg while he was sitting in the passenger seat).

I was fast asleep for the second incident, blissfully dreaming away in my bed, when another millipede (clearly from the same Millipede Family Circus as the first), decided to let go of the ceiling and fall – SMACK – directly onto my face. Yes, that’s right – I was bitch-slapped by a millipede in my bed. Suffice it to say, sleep did not come easily after that.

Exhibit B: The Curious Incident of the Pain in the Nighttime

A couple of weeks after the Millipede Circus, I was minding my own business in slumber once again when I was startled awake by a sudden, sharp sting, which was repeated twice more in rapid succession. Flinging away the sheets, I ordered the boyfriend out of bed to try and find the guilty party. Lights on, sheets off and shaken, we found nothing. Exasperated, I was about to give up when I had one last idea. Shaking the one thing that hadn’t yet been shook, I was both rewarded with and horrified by the culprit when a scorpion fell… out of my HAIR. True story.

Exhibit C: The Unwitting Snake Charmer

I have accidentally grabbed onto a snake (outside, in the wild) three times in my life thus far. My boyfriend complained that he never gets to see snakes, as there weren’t any where he used to live. I reassured him that if he stuck with me, I was bound to grab onto another one for his viewing pleasure soon enough.

The first time it happened, I was about 10 years old or so and had been ordered to go outside, in the dark, to bring the laundry in that had been hanging out to dry. Not being quite tall enough to reach the line at a stretch, my method involved jumping up slightly to grab the line and hold it down while I removed our garments. Well, you guessed it – on one of my jumps, I managed to grab onto not only the washing line, but the snake that had wrapped itself around it. This moment led to my retirement from laundry duty, effective immediately.

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A few years later and I was outside in the dark again, this time foraging for leafy greens to feed my rabbits. I’d exhausted most of the tall grass near their hutch and headed down the hill a ways to an area lush with trees, thinking I would grab some leaves. On my third blind reach into the tree, I noticed that the branch I had just grabbed was slightly warm and somewhat slippery. Tossing it on the ground, the snake veered up at me, cobra-style. Frozen in fear, I shined my flashlight into its eyes and repeatedly begged, “Go away, go away, go away…” until it finally obliged and began to back off, allowing me to run home.

The most recent encounter happened just last year. I was taking my dog for a walk (again, in the dark – will I ever learn?) and leading him down the stairs from my apartment to the road. About halfway down, I settled my hand on the wooden railing to steady myself. Instantly, I recognized that now-familiar feeling of slightly warm and somewhat slippery texture and all the terrible memories came flooding back. I had grabbed onto a snake AGAIN. Seriously, how does this shit happen to one person so many times?!

Exhibit D: The Uninvited Dinner Guest

A few days ago I was on a Skype call with a friend when, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something dash underneath the couch. My suspicions were confirmed upon hearing the light pitter patter of tiny feet on my wooden floorboards. Great. A mouse or a rat no doubt had just run straight in the front door like it owned the place and now I wasn’t sure where it had ended up. I continued about my evening, staying alert for signs of my new guest. And then, in the midst of another phone call, I glanced up to see a rather large rat climb up onto one of the seats at my dining room table and perch there, looking up expectantly as though I was supposed to serve him dinner. The audacity! I chased him out the door.

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I could go on and on, really. The list is endless. And yet, I persevere. What other choice do I have? Sure, my progress in the “getting over it” department has been slow, but I have graduated to being able to perform certain tasks that were previously unthinkable with minimal complaint – things like removing a grasshopper from my car, and a centipede from my toothbrush cup, for example. I’m really quite proud of myself (but, unfortunately, no less petrified). It’s a journey. Baby steps…

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Sophie Leroy

About Sophie Leroy

Sophie was raised on the island of Tortola, having been brought to the rock by her parents when she was just two years old. Despite the fact that she still does not have any formal immigration status, she finds it safe to say she’s “from he’eh” (not to be confused with “bahn he’eh”) and loves calling the BVI her home, for all its quirks and perks. A no-nonsense nerd with an otherwise laid-back attitude, she loves fast cars, SCUBA diving, late night johnny cakes, and has an insatiable desire to adopt every animal on the face of the planet (well, just the cute ones). She was bitten by the travel bug early on and capitalizes on any opportunity to get off the rock in an effort to feed her wanderlust. While she likes to think of herself as a seasoned traveler, the island girl in her still has no understanding whatsoever of public transportation or how to pump her own gas.

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