At what point does a fear become a phobia, and where is the line that must be crossed before you get to call a phobia debilitating?
I’m just wondering, because a few weeks ago, I almost killed myself because I saw a bee.
I was driving about two hours north through the countryside, to the mountains bordering Virginia. It was still early in the day and early in the summer. The views were stunning and the weather was perfect.
So, I rolled down my windows. I much prefer a natural breeze to frosty AC freezing my fingertips to the steering wheel. And the wind felt great blowing my hair, and Kaleo made me feel like I was driving through the opening of a movie.
Until the bee.
At a stop sign in a small town I did pick up on the sound of buzzing, but assumed it was a fly that would soon leave of its own volition. It wasn’t until I was going about 50mph down a long country road I just happened to glance to my right, toward the passenger seat, and there. it. was. Just kind of evilly hovering.
In the same millisecond I emitted a supersonic squeal and yanked my steering wheel. My knee jerk evasive maneuver is apparently to flee with my entire vehicle –or go full on kamikaze. I don’t know what it was, but I do know I didn’t have time to think about any of it.
Fortunately, I quickly forgot the bee in favor of not crashing into a cow filled, hilly pasture. I overcorrected, swinging my car all over the empty road.
The exact moment I regained control, I pulled over into someone’s driveway. It was probably a third of a mile long, with a tiny house far off in the middle of an otherwise featureless field. I jumped out onto the dusty gravel. Into the overwhelming thrum screaming cicadas and the occasional whirr of a locust in the grass. I’m not sure if I’d ever been alone somewhere that remote before.
I frantically searched my car from the outside, and eventually found the bee, a bumblebee, crawling on the driver’s side floor. He wasn’t doing great –just crawling –so I dared to lean across and pop open the dashboard console to grab a flyer from the dealership where I bought my car.
I let the bee crawl onto it, then chucked the bee and the flyer into the grass. He buzzed drunkenly away, and I grabbed the flyer and jumped back into my car, rolling the windows up and hyperventilating for a few seconds longer before I started back on the road.
I could barely drive for shaking. I was appalled by my instant reaction, and the fact I could have killed people if anyone else had been driving along.
About the time I calmed down, a flash of yellow color caught my attention in my peripheral vision. I glanced down at the orangey yellow, tiny ball stuck to my shorts. Attached to the ball was a shiny black bee leg.
He left his leg on me.
Who does that!?
At a stop sign, I used a gas station receipt to extricate the bee leg from my shorts and let it fall out the window off the paper.
The rest of my road trip I spent in terror, hyper aware of every bump and buzz.
Why am I so afraid of bugs? It certainly isn’t limited to bees. True, the bigger they are the more afraid I am, but I will shriek at the notice of a bug of almost any size once it gets on me. I’m not afraid so much of being bitten or stung, except it means the bug put its mouth or butt horn on me.
Other animals I fear pose an actual threat. I would be afraid if I encountered, say, a tiger. Or a venomous snake. Other than that, if it can’t hurt me or give me a disease, I am not afraid.
Except for fucking bugs. It defies all logic. Seeing a particularly gross one makes it hard to eat for a few hours after.
Why am I like this!?
What’s the stupidest thing that terrifies you?