Tag Archives: insects

this is why i don’t watch horror movies

don't do it! she's evil!!!

 i remember the first time i saw a horror movie. it was the late 80s. jon bon jovi’s hair was still huge and frosted (oooh how i loved him back then). my hair, too, was enormous (tho accidentally) and i didn’t care. i still wore a size 5. i had a walkman with puffy earphones. times were good. 

anyway, freddie krueger, as you may (or may not) recall, was all the rage. and, without knowing any better, when my friend suggested we watch the newest “nightmare on elm street,” during our long-awaited sleepover i was like SURE! i flipped off my white keds and settled in for the show. man, i was dumb back then. 

i sat thru the movie, petrified. then, when my friend turned out the lights in her attic bedroom (it had to be the freakin attic, didn’t it?!), suddenly everything was scary. i remember laying there on the carpeted floor in my sleeping bag, eyes wide open, convinced freddie was going come thru the window or the wall or the plumbing and slash me. i kept hearing these windchimes. oh my gosh, the windchimes. needless to say it was a rough night for me. 

so fast fwd 20-some years to last night. holly and i walked up the street to vote in the maryland primaries. on our way back, she suggested we go relax on our roofdeck. i told her i was feeling too sick. she’s had a terrible cold the past couple days. i’ve had a weird headache i feel might be a cold coming on. in fact, i made us not one but two pots of my late grandmother’s chicken soup (w/matzah balls and egg noodles). we just had a couple bowls before we left to vote. 

“how about we just watch a movie on the couch?” i suggested. 

she agreed. i don’t know if she was on the phone or  playing on her phone or what, but i was fairly unsupervised (never a good thing) as i flipped thru the on-demand movie options. i went to hbo, then movies, then comedy. i come across “jennifer’s body.” hmmm. i had heard of that. i knew it was a vampire movie. but it was under comedy. and megan fox was supposed to make out with some chick. my homosexuality got the better of me (it usually does when it comes to these sorts of things) and i clicked “ok.” i knew it was dumb but i did it anyway. 

the sound came on and holly looked up. “what did you pick?” she said. oh all the sudden she’s interested.     

“‘jennifer’s body,'” i told her, innocently. 

“WHAT?! WHY?!! that’s a VAMPIRE MOVIE. you’ll never last five minutes!” 

“whatever, babe,” i said. “megan fox kisses a chick. i think i can make it at least that far.” 

well as soon as the scary music started and the camera panned over a backyard in the dark i knew it was a mistake. 

“maybe this wasn’t such a good idea…” i said. but for whatever reason, we could not stop watching. i swear movies like that are such a train wreck. 

have any of you seen “jennifer’s body”? while i suppose it’s kind of tame for a horror movie, it’s pretty gross and pretty damn freaky. in a nutshell, megan fox turns into this demon vampire thing that seduces high school boys and then rips them apart and eats their insides. (silence) yeah, i know. she also scares the begeezus outta you because she keeps showing up all bloody on the side of the road!!! granted, the kiss scene was damn good. but honestly, totally not worth all the carnage to get to it. by the time it ended, i was highly traumatized. highly. cold hands, sweaty palms, the whole thing. and totally scared. as was holly. 

“you feel hot!” holly said, touching my forehead. 

“i know!” i said. “i think the movie gave me a fever!” 

despite my aching head and her bad cold, we both started laughing hysterically. then i proceeded to try to recreate the kissing scene except for i suddenly leaned back, made my hands into claws, let my bangs drop into my eyes, opened my mouth really wide, bared my teeth and hissed which scared the hell outta holly. she screamed like a little girl then i screamed like a little girl and then we both collapsed into laughter. then i did it a couple more times. which i know was mean, but damn it was so funny. i wish you coulda been there. 

“STOP DOING THAT! YOU’RE SCARING ME!” she screamed. “you have black hair!!!! like a VAMPIRE! like MEGAN FOX! I WANT MY WIFE BACK!” 

by that point i had scared myself, too, so i demanded that she go back to the kitchen with me so i could put away the soup, which had cooled by then. i was not going by myself lest megan fox jump out of the oven, trick me into making out and then eat my insides and leave me for dead. 

i took a slotted spoon and started taking out all the vegetables and whatnot so i could just put the broth away. when i was on the second pot (the one we hadn’t eaten), about my third time in i found something red in the spoon. it was kind of big and red. from a distance it looked like a dried chili pepper or something. i looked closer. it looked like a… 

“ohmygosh. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” 

“WHAT?” holly yelled from the couch jumping up (she had abandoned me in the kitchen after all–thanks, babe). 

“i…i…i think i found a GRASSHOPPER in the soup. or a CRICKET. a BRIGHT RED CRICKET IN THE SOUP.” 

a vampire cricket! 

“get. over. here.” 

as i held back gags, she took a look and screamed. then i screamed. we were both screaming when her mom and twin sister called. while she told them about the movie and how scared we were and then about the huge insect we just found in our CHICKEN SOUP, my gears turned. everyone has mice in this city. rats (and cats) out back. sure, some bugs. but never something like this. hell, crickets don’t even chirp outside, let alone land in your kosher chicken soup on a tuesday night. 

the parsley! i thought. the dill! THE DAMN PESTICIDE-FREE HERBS. (we’ve recently gone organic.) 

“dammit, honey!” i exclaimed. “it was the damn parsley or dill! i soaked them like three or four times but i never separated the leaves. i bet the bug was hiding in there.” 

by that point, heidi (holly’s twin sister; identical twin sister), was on a roll, laughing her head off about how scared we were over some teen vampire flick, and now the giant red cricket in our soup. 

“one, two, freddie’s comin for you,” she whisper-sang over the speakerphone (DAMN THE SPEAKERPHONE). “three, four, better shut the door….” 

i gasped. the freddie krueger theme song! 

“STOPPIT HEIDI!” i shouted. “YOU’RE A BAD SISTER-IN-LAW!” 

i drowned her out with the garbage disposal, which i turned on to grind up the vampire cricket. i turned my head away as i poured in the soup, but it was no use. i saw the damn thing out of the corner of my eye. 

at that point i’d had enough. i was ready for the sun to come up. i just wanted to go to sleep. it took a while to make my way into bed, however, since i flipped on every single light in the house after the movie ended. (oh please you’ve totally done that after a horror movie) 

“i’m scared,” i told holly after i got into bed. 

“you see?” she said, flipping on bravo. “i told you not to watch that movie. i told you it was a bad idea.” 

she was right. again. the moral of the story is that i need to ignore the hype and stick to the romantic comedies from now on. also that megan fox scares the sh*t outta me. and always wash leafy herbs carefully.

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is it weird that i find the sound of all the noisy daytime summer bugs incredibly relaxing?

cicadas

how can something so scary-looking sound so awesome??

anyone else with me? or am i just crazy? (ok don’t answer that one)

it’s cicadas, i think. and heaven help me if i ever come face to face with one (oh and i have. if you were in the maryland-dc area a few years ago, you, too, experienced the 18-year cicada phenomenon. yeah, they bury eggs or something and then they hatch 18 years later and basically take over your life once you step outside. *freaky*!) i’m not such a fan of bugs (who is? if you are i’d like to hear from you and hear your rationale tho i bet it something w/the friggin ecosystem or something and you’re probably right) but hot damn! there is nothing on earth like walking outside of an air-conditioning building or stepping outside of your house or car and just hearing that whoosh of sound combined with summer heat and sun…it’s like slipping into a warm bath. 

it wasn’t until a couple years ago that i finally figured out why i love it so much: it’s august. that giant cicada sound to me means august. and august for me growing up in northern new jersey was returning from summer sleepaway camp (i only went for the first session, only three and a half weeks but it could have been a year, it felt so long) feeling like a champion that i had braved it on my own for “so long” and with the names, phone numbers and addresses of a gazillion new friends not to mention a golden tan and a new appreciation for everything i had left at home. before that it was day camp (also only the first session), always kind of tedious tho fun. and always a great sense of relief that it was over so i could be at home.

august was the pool with my mom (a teacher; i was lucky enough to have her home every summer), homemade cut-off jean shorts and errands together on our little mainstreet and visits with my dear grandma, the three of us going to friendly’s and then just grandma and i, sitting on her third-floor cement balcony surrounded by little pots of red geraniums, her smoking her unfiltered pall malls (and putting them out about a minute later, telling me never to smoke the whole time) and me, listening to the cacophony of bugs, watching the planes fly by high above, thinking about the new school year about to start (promising myself that i’d start my homework earlier after school, which i probably only did for the first month, if that) and dreaming about what it’d be like to be grown up one day.

i guess, stepping back a little bit, the sound of the cicadas just takes me back to a simpler time. one where i was surrounded by all love, all the time (i was a lucky kid), shielded by my parents and grandma from the crueler, less comfortable parts of life (namely, adulthood)…a world where my biggest worries were homework and friends and then, eventually, studying for my bat mitzvah. when sweat was something that meant i was outside playing, something that dried off in due time, not something that ruined my dress shirt after a quick lunchbreak outside in the heat.

i think, also, it’s just…summer. and even if many of us are stuck in sterile, air-conditioned offices the majority of the day, those moments when we can slip out for a few minutes during the day, or just walking in or walking out for the day, the rush of cicadas–with their soft-to-loud and then loud-to-soft clamour–reminds us that outside four walls is nature and summer and heat and, yes, bugs. they were there when we were kids, and they’ll be there always, waiting for us, sounding exactly the same year after year. i have also determined that, b/c i am one of those freakazoids who doesn’t actually go ga-ga over summer (i go ga-ga over fall), their sound also means that fall is not far. oh fall. fall fall fall, how i absolutely love and live for fall.

so really, that’s just about it. and if you’re new to my blog, no, i don’t always blog about wildlife (kittens yesterday, bugs today). i’ve just been meaning to tell you all how much i love the sound of cicadas. very un-rocknroll of me, i know. but i love puppies, too. and deer. and pretty much anything cute and furry. so don’t even get me started…