There are many things that scare me. Chief among them are bugs. And they know it, too, so they seek me out. As the long-awaited spring returns to Connecticut, most of us are happy to feel the warmer weather and see the flowers starting to come up, but to me, it means that bugs are reproducing wildly and planning their attacks on me.

Mosquitos love me. If you want to avoid being bitten, just stand next to me. I am irresistible to those little buzzing carnivores, and they will not be interested in you at all. I hear them in the night, droning next to my ear, licking their lips and getting ready to chow down on some fleshy part of me. Many years ago, I spent a lot of money on a bug zapper, which was supposed to get rid of the mosquitos, and I spent lots of happy hours listening to the zaps, knowing my nemeses were being executed in an electrical way. But it was just an illusion, because they still found me and sought their revenge against me for killing their relatives. If I weren’t so terrified of bats, I would build a bat house and try to entice them to live near me, since I have heard they each eat 5 million mosquitos a day. But then I would constantly be afraid that the bats would decide to make a nest in my hair.

I hate bees and wasps and all those stinging types. I have been stung once on the hand when I was in my 30s. It was very traumatic and I believe I cried – more from the concept of ACTUALLY HAVING BEEN STUNG and losing my bee virginity, than from the actual pain.

My worst bug encounter happened in the early days of the internet, when I would stay up all night exploring the World Wide Web to my heart’s content. I went into my kitchen for a snack and all of a sudden, there were zillions of swarming flying ants. Or termites. Whatever they were, I had never seen so many bugs in one place and they were all squirmy and in constant motion as bugs tend to be. I was the only adult in the house in those days, and my sons were sleeping, so there was nothing to do but shudder and cringe and try to kill them all. I think I ended up vacuuming them to death. I then had to spend substantial sums to exterminate them, but it was money well spent because I never want to see that many bugs in my house again.

We have carpenter bees who like the wooden beam outside over my bathroom window. One can be sitting there on the throne, relatively relaxed and enjoying the warm breezes wafting in through that window, playing some thrilling word games on the smart phone and generally loving life, when all of a sudden these bees, which are the size of buffaloes, will be buzzing outside the window and HOVERING at eye level, waiting to chomp on some yummy wood. They don’t care if I shriek at them or squirt water at them. They just hover like helicopters, making a huge racket and biding their time until the perfect moment. I am protected by a screen, and I am not made of wood, so I know I’m safe, but they still scare me a LOT. I spent a lot of money to have them exterminated too, but they came right back so I gave up.

I am afraid of thunderstorms and lightning (very very frightening). I am afraid of those scary things outside of businesses that have air blowing through them to make them wave their arms around to attract our attention. I am afraid of getting stuck at the top of a Ferris wheel. I am truly terrified of clowns. My husband is terrified of snakes but not of clowns, and he thinks it’s really funny to call my attention to clowns without warning me first. “Come here, Randi! You’ll like this!” and I run to the TV only to see some GROTESQUE grinning clown leering at me. Very funny, dear. How would you like a nice SNAKE for your birthday?

I’m very afraid of death – not because I don’t know what will happen to me, but because I don’t want to hurt those I leave behind. I find myself thinking about this waaaaaay too much, reading obituaries and trying to focus on the people who live to be 90. On the other hand, I’m afraid of becoming senile or losing my ability to walk and care for myself, in which case I don’t want to live to be 90, and I’m afraid I will!

I’m afraid of being embarrassed – of tripping and falling down, of misunderstanding what someone said and giving the wrong response, of being unprepared (even though I’m no longer in school!!), of forgetting to show up for an appointment, or worse, showing up when I DON’T have an appointment, or going to a party on the wrong day.

I worried about passing on my fears to my children, but luckily they simply laugh and mock me when I scream at the top of my lungs over an ant. I wish I didn’t have these fears but I’m outing myself and maybe you will feel brave enough to do the same.

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