Bugging Out

bugging out

Unlike with sharks, there is no classic musical interlude that warns you of an approaching creepy crawler. Without warning, you simply turn your head to the unseemly sight of too many gangly hairy spindly legs. Cue the cardio burst towards the door and the declarations to the gods above that if they slay this monstrous beast you shall present to them your first born child.

Then, right as you run up to little Timmy’s room and snatch him out of the crib to be raised Simba-style to the heavens, the bug flies out of an open window and you are left apologizing to a grumpy toddler while laughing nervously to displace the blush spreading over your cheeks.

Because it’s foolish to be afraid of bugs, and we all know it.

And yet most all of us are scared witless at the mere mention of the b-word.

And why?

  1. Because they look ugly? So do I every Monday morning. Eye-gunk can be just as disturbing as pollen-gook
  2. Because some are considered poisonous? Put down that Big Mac long enough to consider what’s really killing you.
  3. Because we don’t understand them? I don’t understand my teenage brother (though admittedly, there are times I’d like to swat him).
  4. Because of bad past experiences? Once I fell off my bike. And yet, like most functioning members of society, I am not thrown into a panic at the sight of bicycles.
  5. Because of the movies? Please, A Bug’s Life is a cinema classic that teaches you to root for the underbug.
  6. Because you suffer from arachnophobia? OK, that makes sense actually.
  7. Because others are afraid? If my mom wears corduroy overalls does that mean that I should too? (That line just caused more chills than any bug could ever have done).
  8. Because they’re tiny? Take two big steps in the opposite direction of the insect. It will now take them a month to reach you.
  9. Because they look different than us? So does absolutely every single thing on this planet. My cat looks different than me, but when she’s not hissing in my face I still love her oh so much.

singing bug

There are so many reasons to dislike bugs. And there are so many reasons why those reasons are stupid.

Let’s just hope I can remember those reasons the next time a spider crawls out from under the couch and I’m tempted to trap it under a bowl until I can reach little Timmy.

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Busy as a Bee

With two jobs, four clubs and organizations, a mound of homework, a fitness regimen to keep, sports to cheer for, and friends to stay in touch with, you’d think I was done saying yes to life. And you’d be as wrong as my brother trying to talk with a British accent (just plain wrong).

winnie the pooh beeIn fact, just the other day I received an email asking me if I’d like to sign up for a tour of the apiary on campus. Once I confirmed with Wikipedia that apes were not actually involved and I would get the chance to visit my bumble bee buddies, I immediately signed right up! Though I’m no where near comfortable with creepy crawly buggy critters, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for bees (possibly stemming from my love of Winnie the Pooh). In my messed up and illogical mind, bees seem to be the one type of bug that I’m actually alright to be around.

But that didn’t stop me from being nervous as heck when the time came to actually visit the bees on the roof of UMD’s dining hall. In a group, we approached four white boxes housing hundreds of hundreds of bees. After spraying them with a gas (which is not as toxic as the film Bee Movie describes, but is a simple burning pine needle mix that makes the bees calmer and less likely to sting), the box was taken a part and columns and columns of bees and bees were removed to show exactly how the world of bees worked.

Hive Tour 5Honestly, I remember very little about the intricate workings of the bee hive. I learned that the queen bee can mate with around 10 males in order to populate the entire bee hive, I learned that bees called “drones” do not have the ability to sting, and I learned that I look pretty rockin’ in a beekeeper hat. Mostly, I was too busy standing around in awe of the bees buzzing happily by me, around me, and often, even on me. I think that’s why I like bees more than other bugs (ladybugs make me happy, but I’m just learning how to tolerate butterflies); bees just seem perfectly content to work, fly, and be cheerfully yellow. And how on earth could you hate something so kind as to make honey?!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit an apiary, do it! Though I was terrified for the first 20 minutes as I watched the bees circle around our group, it was actually quite beautiful and I never felt in danger despite wearing a t-shirt and short sleeves. And even if this opportunity doesn’t present itself to you, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation that could lead to a grand adventure and some lovely memories, think of me and say, “well, if that scaredy cat of a girl can pal around with some bees for an hour, surely I can go hang gliding over an active volcano while learning French and writing the greatest book series since Harry Potter”, or whatever it is you’d like your adventure to entail…

A Pescetarian Proposition

I don’t have any qualms about smushing a spider if it sneaks up on me in the house, but on the whole I’d say that I was an animal lover. I actually think that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t, what with puggles (an adorable mix between a pug and beagle) gracing the world with their cuteness.

puggle

Just recently, it was pointed out to me in a randomly life-altering article that if you wouldn’t eat your cat, why eat a chicken, or a pig, or a cow. What makes the life of a pig so different from that of a cat? Pigs are just as personable, fairly intelligent, and their oinks sound just as adorable as a soft little meow. I know that this may seems silly to some, as the differences are abundantly clear to a good portion of the population, but for me, this realization was devastating. In one brief comment, I saw that all animals lives (except perhaps spiders) were worth the exact same and were worthy of the exact same protection.

cute animals

I don’t really eat a lot of meat to begin with. I once went 2 years without eating pork, I don’t have a taste for steak, I enjoy veggie burgers, and chicken is simply an addition to many meals that can be substituted out.  For me, becoming a vegetarian would be fairly easy (though more challenging once I return to UMD). Fish/seafood, however, is not something that I could see myself giving up, both due to the particular way my mouth waters when I see it, and its nutrient content.

When it comes down to it, there are tons of reasons WHY becoming a pescetarian would suit my lifestyle:

  • Because it’s healthier
  • Because it increases energy levels
  • Because it saves money
  • Because it’s better for the planet
  • Because it’s an easy transition for me
  • Because all animals deserve to be treated humanely

But mostly, it’s the fact that if we hadn’t domesticated certain animals, they could be on our menu too. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of someone eating my cat instead of brushing her fur.

cat vs. chick

Animals are not food. They are animals. And as animals, they deserve to be loved and petted and adored and have cute and smile-inducing pictures of themselves taken. No exceptions.

snuggly pigs