You may have seen one of my recent Wordless Wednesday posts where I alluded to an event that happened over Father’s Day weekend.  I don’t care if they’re essentially harmless.  Cicadas are the most frightening bugs I’ve ever seen without the safety net of a 2-inch thick shatterproof zoo tank.

Here are some more details from the incident:

It was our first sunny day after a long week of miserably cold and rainy June weather.  We were heading out to the lake.  Emma was already in her swimsuit.  Music was thumping, windows were open to the warm breeze.  Here, see for yourself, and please disregard Emma’s black eye.  It is only her second.  And I use the word “only” because she really should have had nine of these by now given her deadly combination of fearlessness, immature coordination, and really bad luck.

Looks like a good time, right? So imagine that you’re cruising along the highway, enjoying life, drinking your coffee, singing angsty pop songs.  And then you hear a scream.  The most blood-curdling scream you’ve ever heard. Worse than the scream you made when you watched the teenage couple from Psycho II sneak into the basement of the Bates Motel and run into Mother. 

You turn around and you see a giant cicada on your little one’s carseat.

It’s the size of your fist and it’s crawling towards her.  And your eldest daughter is watching the whole thing go down, screaming her head off.  And now the baby is screaming because she doesn’t know what’s going on but screaming is contagious. 

Thankfully, you’re a mom.  You know what to do.  You tell everyone to calm down, that it’s just a bug.  And you gently try to swish it out the window.

That is not what I did.

I, too, am now screaming, begging for mercy from the cicada animal, because although I can deal with most bugs, apparently I cannot deal with large reptilian vampirish-looking bugs with bloodshot eyes.  In theory I knew that it wouldn’t bite or start clawing at my kids’ faces.  But my defensive instinct kicked in and convinced me that it would suction onto Emma’s neck, transforming her into a sticky child-cicada hybrid like the unfortunate incident with Jeff Goldblum in “The Fly.”

With everyone screaming, the cicada-human becomes a little freaked out and starts to beat its wings, trying desperately to get the hell out of our car. And I’m screaming and whacking at it, so where does it go for protection?

It dive bombs the back of Lauren’s dress so that now it is CAUGHT in the back of her dress, against her bare skin.  And we’re on the highway, and I can’t form the words in my mouth because I’m in shock.  All I can do is scream at Rodney to “PULL OVER! PULL OVER!”  And Rodney still doesn’t know if we’re dealing with a swarm of wasps, or even a rogue tomahawk that came through the open window.  So he’s hunched over and clutching the wheel, trying to keep out of harm’s way, yelling “WHAT’S GOING ON? WHAT’S GOING ON?”

And that’s when I saw the second Cicada, crawling through the still-open sunroof.  Screaming kicks up a notch, which defies the laws of physics. Or biology.  Or whatever scientific system takes over when your life flashes before your eyes.   Minutes later, which obviously feels like hours, we find a safe place to exit.  I rip Lauren out of her booster, the cicada flies out of her dress.  Second one is beaten out with a paper lunch bag that still has a ham sandwich in it.  And we sit there….panting.  Too shaken to cry or talk.

How does this relate to food?  Nothing, unfortunately.  But if I had a therapist, she would probably have told me that I needed to revisit this day so that I could process it and move on with my life.

And, I guess to throw you a bone here, they are actually eating these things in Connecticut.

photo credit, cicada:

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