Why Bugs? Why?

BugI used to like bugs.

In fact, I was once called the Bug Lady. I was the one called upon to evict from our home critters that exceeded the recommended number of legs. I was the one who argued that they all have their place in creation, and do valuable work.

Not anymore.

Just today, I stared down a Box Elder Bug (the one in the picture) and his friends, and declared them to be the physical embodiment of evil.

Which isn’t fair. They don’t bite. They don’t infest (can’t breed indoors, apparently). They were specially created for a purpose. But unfortunately they also really, really like my warm, south-facing patio.

I’ve changed. I mean, I still don’t kill bugs (except for that one silverfish in the bathtub I thought my pet fish Amazon would enjoy. So technically, he killed it.) But I now know how the bug-haters feel. I’m not proud of it.

But Smallville bugs are different.

(It must be the kryptonite.)

The whole thing started with the Box Elder Bugs. I put out a strawberry for the birds I’d seen in the trees nearby. When I returned, however, the strawberry was covered in Box Elder Bugs.

I made a noise then, that I’d never heard myself make before. (Kind of like, Eeeeuuggh! I didn’t scream, I’ll have you know.) And then I nabbed my dustpan and knocked the bug-covered strawberry off of my patio.

It wasn’t over yet, because the Box Elder Bugs stuck around. As if to spite me, a large horsefly landed on my patio and died, so that it too could get covered in Box Elder Bugs. And then the bugs took up residence in my mint plant.

There was always at least a dozen of them on the patio at any given moment. They left after a few weeks, until today, and they’ve come back in droves. Apparently they’re back now because they’re looking for a place to spend the winter. And they’re all big red and black adults now. They’re crawling all over everything, and more keep flying in. It looks like the beginnings of a Biblical plague, which is probably what prompted the impression that they were evil.

If it had been part of a sci-fi movie though, they would have symbolized evil.

Of course, Box Elder Bugs, though fairly large for a North American insect, are not the biggest things out here. There’s also the really big beetles with giant antennae that I thought were called June Bugs. Apparently they’re not, according to google. Those guys I generally think are kind of neat, in part because they’re so big. But anything that’s dead gets creepier, including bugs.

So when I was sitting at the bus stop, and I noticed a rather large spider crawling on top of the big beetle, honestly I could not decide which was worse. The spiders here, the ones I have seen, are great. They look an awful lot like black widow spiders, except they’re about the size of a loonie. A big freaky thing eating a big freaky thing is not what you want to see on your way to church.

There are a few just random bugs, too, that don’t really seem to fit my established Metropolis ideas of what bugs are supposed to look like. There’s the medium-small brown flies, for example. Not tiny, like fruit flies, but not as big as any other fly I’ve ever seen. Just medium-small, which was not a category of fly I’ve ever seen before. And the teeny-tiny brown ants. I’ve only seen two, and both of them were in my apartment. One of them was drowned in Gary’s bathwater. (Gary is my air plant, for those who don’t know.)

I don’t mind those, really. But I really don’t like the ones that want my food. The wasps, for instance, that live on campus at the Institution of Joy and Happiness, where I work. I tried to eat outside once. It was a beautiful day.

I’m usually not bothered about bees or wasps, either. I’ve never been stung, I know they won’t bother me if I don’t bother them. These wasps didn’t read that e-mail apparently.

It would hover around me. Behind me, just to be super creepy, so I would see it chasing me when I turned around. So I left for a bit, walked quickly away. Best thing to do. Can’t swat at it, it might get mad.

And then it was gone. Everything was fine. I went back. And then it came back.

So I did it again, with the same results, and then I started freaking out a little. So I swatted at it a little, which freaked me out more, because I was sure it was getting mad.

After, a few repetitions of this nonsense, and having likely convinced several students I had gone nuts, I came to my senses and speed-walked to the nearest building to eat in peace.

But food is not always safe indoors. Sometimes you bring the bugs with you.

I knew, in theory, that fruit with holes in it could have a worm. I’d never seen it happen. Then I saw, on a pear I had, little black specks in some webbing. Mice?

No, I know what that is. It’s caterpillar poop. I’ve seen it in leaves when I collected caterpillars from their nests so I could raise them.

This was alarming. An actual wormy thing, inside my food!? But I wanted pears with cottage cheese and chocolate sauce. And I was eating those pears. That wasn’t negotiable. I got them for free. You don’t not eat free food.

So I cut it open, and that noise happened again. (Eeeeuuggh!) I thought one of the seeds was a little slug-like worm. It wasn’t, as I discovered when I got up the nerve to return to the kitchen.

There was more caterpillar poop inside. I cut out everything that had contact with the tunnel or the poop. Washed everything. It all looked like proper, eatable fruit. I wondered where the “worm” was, but everything was fine so why worry.

(As a side note, I may never eat whole fruit again. I’m cutting up everything.)

The real drama came later, after I’d enjoyed my pear and chocolate sauce, and went to put the bowl back in the kitchen.

There was a reddish thing lowering itself down from the cupboard into my fruit bowl (which is actually a colander). There was that noise again.

I didn’t even know that something like that could happen. Worms in apples, sure, I’ve heard of that. But caterpillars that go in, munch on your fruit, leave, and then come back in the creepiest way possible?


They do this to me on purpose, I’m sure. The bugs succeed in creeping me out, then they do something even worse just to see me freak out more. I mean, it’s happened three times.

Bugs swarming over something, look, let’s do it again only worse cause it’s on a dead bug.

Big creepy bug, look, here’s a big creepy spider too.

Caterpillars in the fruit, tada, here I go again.

And don’t even get me started about the fruit flies that drown themselves in my tea. I mean, that happened in Metropolis too, but come on I was gone for like five minutes. I’m sure Amazon the fish appreciates their sacrifice but I don’t.

I used to like bugs. If I can get a little intellectual here, I think the reason I’ve started disliking bugs has to do with the basic reasons we bother getting upset about mostly harmless bugs in the first place. It comes back to disease. Bugs congregate around filth, so we associate them with filth and disease.

Now that it is my sole responsibility to make sure that I do not die of food poisoning or accidentally ingest something toxic, bugs bother me. Because now they are my problem. Plus, I don’t know these bugs. I grew up around Metropolis bugs, but these Smallville bugs could be dangerous. You never know.

I Think This, You Think This … We Don’t Agree.

Your debate partner

“Take away, O ass! those panniers of airy nothingness; and speak, if you can, three words that have an affinity to common sense; if it be possible for the tumid pumpkin of your skull to discover for a moment any thing like the reality of intellect” – Milton

You may have noticed that things in general in the Western World have gotten a little more political. A little more polarized.

It may well be that the only thing we all agree on is that we can’t agree on anything. Nevertheless, I have noticed that even though we think very differently about things, the way we think about these things is remarkably similar.

Let us explore some things that we all seem to believe, although our beliefs could not be more divergent.

1. The Other Side believes things that are demonstrably false.

I mean, haven’t they read the experts you’ve read? To any thinking person, the truth just has to be obvious. I mean, sure, the Other Side has experts too, but …

2. The Other Side is motivated by ideology, not facts.

Which is obvious from their weak arguments and poor logic. Obviously their “experts” are just spouting off things that they’re basically just making up that support what they believe. And yet …

3. The Other Side knows perfectly well that they are wrong.

The truth is just so obvious. They know what they’re arguing for is wrong, they just don’t want to admit it, because (they want to redistribute wealth to other countries, they hate God, they’re just racists, all they want is money.) But honestly …

4. Most people are just dumb.

I mean, how else can you explain so many people that believe things that are so obviously wrong? But at the same time …

5. We are the majority.

We may be the silent majority. Or we may be the majority leading the world towards a more tolerant future. But either way, we are the majority. Certainly we are the sane ones, unlike some people, because …

6. The Other Side are all extremists

Although we can’t deny that major changes are needed, possibly revolutionary changes. But of course it will be a revolution of sanity and kindness. Even though we don’t really care if the changes that are needed will make some people uncomfortable, because let’s face it …

7. The Other Side are mostly intolerant jerks.

This may be especially ironic, because they claim to be so tolerant. Or it may just be an obvious fact because the Other Side are -ists or -phobes or some sort or other. I mean, not everyone on our side is perfectly either, but …

8. The Other Side makes us out to be jerks when we’re not.

And this is just so that they can avoid thinking what we think. It’s not our fault, or even the result of our own behavior, for the most part. Even though …

9. We wish some people on Our Side would shush.

Because they’re kind of wackos, and make the rest of us look bad. Which does not in any way negate point numbers 7 or 8.





Ta-Da Everybody

This is not the post I thought I’d be writing. Originally, I planned to call this blog Half-Baked, with a tag-line: “Adventures in Adulting.” And I planned on this post being a proper introduction to the blog I intended to write, and telling the story of how I ended up living on my own. But then I realized that this was all rather short-sighted (although I might eventually tell that story).

Did I plan on being new at living on my own forever? Certainly not.

I also wanted to have a blog to post my creative doings on, and Half-Baked really wasn’t the place to put it. Alexis’ World, however, has enough shades of meaning to encompass everything from my attempts to make sourdough, to my views on random topics, to what the characters from my latest creative attempts are up to.

The tagline “Watch Your Step,” too, means everything from “I haven’t picked up all the clothes on my floor yet,” to “Be careful because the fantasy worlds I’ve created are flipping creepy,” to “Take care of yourself, because many people in this world are complete and utter doorknobs.”

So yes, this is still a blog written primarily so that my friends and family can keep up with what’s going on with me even though I’m “all grown up and miles away,” to quote one of my new favorite musical artists.  But it’s also a blog that can grow with me, and does not require me to take the trouble of maintaining two different blogs.

There’s another thing, too. I am Alexis Czechelski (pronounced check-el-ski). Who is that?

Even those of you who know me may well be wondering that, because as far you know, you don’t know anyone by that name. Which is true, even though you know me, and Alexis Czechelski is my name.

Impossible? No. Not if you accept that I’m being slightly facetious.

For those of you who don’t know. Alexis is my middle name, and Czechelski was my family’s ancestral name before they changed it after moving from Prussia (because Prussia was a thing back then), to Germany. So technically (not really), it is my name.

For those of you who don’t know me at all, I’m writing under a pen name. And now you know how I picked it. Lucky you.

But then since you don’t know me, you may still be asking the question: who is Alexis Czechelski?

I am a fantasy (maybe sci-fi eventually) novelist. My taste in music has confused youtube to the point where it does not know whether the ads it shows me should be in English or French. I took a BA in English literature, then a Library Tech Diploma, and then moved from Metropolis to Smallville, where I work in the library of the Institution of Higher Learning.

I’m being vague because I like telling stories. And I don’t like getting in trouble because I like to tell stories. I don’t have any yet that I think are blog-worthy. But hey, I’ve only been here a month.