One thing you need to know about me: I am terrified of bugs. Really, really scared of them. That said, I was walking down 17th Street in NYC yesterday when I saw the biggest bug I think I’ve ever seen. In my life. The bad part? It was on the back of a woman’s shirt. And I was walking behind her.
At first I didn’t realize it was a bug. I saw it from far away, and it seemed way too big to be a bug. I thought it must be a hole in her shirt that just happened to be in the shape of a bug. I got closer to inspect – and OMG. It was a bug.
Here’s my dilemma: I wanted to warn her. But I knew I couldn’t help her. So what do I do? Tell her there’s the biggest bug I’ve ever seen on her back, and then run away? That’d be horrible! Plus, this woman seemed kinda odd. She was walking slowly, pushing a stroller (I know, that’s even worse), and kinda weaving a little bit. There weren’t very many other people on the street.
This bug was so big, that when I realized what it was, I turned around and started walking – quickly – in the opposite direction. But I had neared the end of the block and really didn’t want to walk all the way back in order to cross the street. A guy passed me, putting himself between me and the bug lady, so I turned back around, feeling safe since he was in the middle. Maybe he would help her! But alas, he not only didn’t help her but walked right past her as if he hadn’t seen the bug at all. Gaah!
THEN, she turned around. She – and the bug – were now coming toward me! I put my head down, walked as quickly as I could past her, and as soon as I got a safe distance away I turned around – and thank goodness, the bug was still on her. Not on me.
As I watched from a safe distance, it started crawling UP HER SHIRT. Toward her neck – and bare skin. She must have felt it, because she reached back and tried to scratch the area a couple of times. I felt terrible! What if it bites her? What if she’s as scared as I am of bugs? I would want someone to help me if that were me.
She got farther and farther away, and I knew I had treated this situation incorrectly. I should have done something – anything. Chances are she’s a tough New Yorker and she would have given me an odd look for even talking to her and swatted it away. But at least I would have helped in the way I would want to be helped.
So now I’m waiting for it – a roach to crawl over my flip-flop, a bee to sting me on the back of my neck. It’s coming! I deserve it, too …