Lately I’ve had some free time, yet I’ve made the mistake of waiting until I’m “in the right frame of mind” to write. I forgot there is no such thing. I’m a writer, or I’m not. It isn’t a matter of not knowing what to write, but of making excuses not to do so. I’ll probably invent more of those in the future, but not today. Today I’ll tell you a bit of the way I feel about little bugs. No, not you. Real ones. I tend to go to each extreme. I either kill them with livid hatred (as a recent purchase for flea medicine shows), or allow them to live as I coo and fawn.
Because of that thing that awakens inside of me when I’m in the presence of small stimuli, I do believe I’ve been spared from indifference towards the living of small worlds. It isn’t that I want to make out with mosquitoes… but watching the way a tiny critter interacts with its environment has a way of awakening memories of certain thoughts, or creating altogether new ones, always of a far more pleasant nature.
As always, that was the state of things when I found a newborn praying mantis in my bathroom. Naturally I immediately wondered what it would be like to find a man that size (approximately half an inch in height), under the same circumstances (say, while I’m in the middle of a biological imperative). My first inclination, even preceding mortification, would be a desire to protect him, but I’m afraid that would be followed with great haste by a compulsion to use him in a most intimate way.
(No, I’m not referring to toilet paper. Ew.)
As unlikely as I am to waste time pondering the impossible (this blog is proof of that, eh?), I wondered if I’d truly be capable of taking advantage of someone in such a defenseless predicament. I imagine he would feel a great deal of distress, especially if he doesn’t know why he’s suddenly 1/2″ tall, and in my bathroom! If that is his normal height, his discomfort would stem from having been spotted and skillfully captured by a woman of enormous size. Would I care?
As I tried to grab a hold of this tiny mantis, I thought that in a world where I find a man that small, I would indeed drop him somewhere fun. In another world I would want to, really badly, but would wait for consent. In yet another dimension I would first take the time to explain to him what is about to happen, and the behavior that is expected of him when he squirms his way to his destination. As though reading my mind (I don’t know why, as it had nothing to do with it), the mantis kept leaping from my hand again and again, and I asked myself, what would I feed him? Where would he sleep? How would I go about my day, insane with worry abut his well being?
It’s so annoying to have these fantasies importuned by a sense of protectiveness towards a creature so unreal it’s never in any danger. But whatever rocks my boat.
Then the praying mantis jumped again, and landed on my left breast. Rather than destroying the moment by realizing it was the closest surface onto which it could escape, I smiled and said to the little man that exists in my head, “But of course that’s the first place you rush to”
From a bag of groceries I had not yet emptied, I grabbed a block of cream cheese, tore the box free, and placed the mantis in there. I was considering keeping it as a pet when I reached a window, as I was also toying with defenestration (<–love that word). I decided on the latter but then I saw the mantis had escaped. I looked for it for quite some time, without luck. It was gone, I thought forever.
It came back to me the next day, and this time I did free it as I hoped it would live a full life. Whatever happened to it was a better fate than staying with me. I would have probably forgotten I had it, or my cats would have eaten it. “You may live” is what I whispered to it, and if there ever was a growth potion developed from the essence of emotional glimpses, what I felt when I said that would certainly be an ingredient. It’s goddess juice, and it makes me taller.
All of you may live. 🙂