Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Bug's Life

I left work today, and as I was stopped in my school parking lot waiting to make a turn into the street, a wasp landed on my side mirror.

Now, normally that would have caused me to scream and slam on the accelerator, possibly causing an accident, just to get that disgusting creature off my car.

I'm one of those women who doesn't like bugs of any kind. Even butterflies gross me out and cause me to make whimpering girl squeals.

But, my window was safely closed and the ativan I'd taken the night before must have still had calming properties, because instead I just wondered, "What is this creature going to do when I take off?" I'm not the most sedate driver in the world - cancer hasn't taught me to slow down and enjoy a car ride home. Speed limits are just estimates, if you ask me. And, they are always too low.

So, would the wasp fly off with the rushing air? Would it wait until I hit a stop sign and then leave? Did it plan on living on my rear view mirror, forcing me to sell my car and buy a wasp-free Lexus RX?

My commute is about 30 minutes, all through city streets. The beginning of my commute is a rural one with mostly stop signs, and as I get closer to my house I have more stop lights.

I spent my driving time watching this bug. At first, as I took off, its creepy antennae waved around. Then as I picked up speed, it hunkered down - legs curled up, antennae pulled in. At one point, when I did the California roll through a stop sign, it kind of side-stepped over to an area of the mirror where there would be less wind resistance.

Unlike many of my commutes where I seem to be forced to stop at every red light, this time I sped through all green. I wondered what this bug would do when I finally hit red. Would it fly away, so far from home? Would it miss its children, its wasp nest? Would it stay with me? It was clearly avoiding the conditions it found itself in, curled up in a tiny ball like that.

Maybe it was dead, killed by the wind.

Finally, I hit a red light, one that had just turned. I watched the bug. It took a few seconds, but it seemed to realize that now was its moment. It's feelers came out. It uncurled its body. It walked a few steps and spread its wings. Then it flew,hovering for a few seconds near my car, then off. It headed towards some bushes near the road.

I couldn't help but think that this bug was a metaphor for life with cancer. You are going along your merry way, when suddenly you land in the wrong spot. All you can do is hunker down and wait for it to be over. You end up in a different place than you planned, where you have to accept new conditions - but at least you didn't end up smashed on somebody's windshield.

And, that's something to be grateful for.


  1. I love when God gives you these little moments of greatness. You've had one today!

    As an aside, I never knew what a California roll was until I was pulled over a long time ago by an officer who when asked what I had done wrong told me that I'd made a California roll. I thought it was a food (well not really) and asked him to explain what that was. I think he thought I was an idiot. Remember, I live on the East Coast and at that point in my life I'd been to Europe but not California! I loved your mention of it today in your blog!

  2. Great wasp-cancer analogy! I'd never thought about it that way before, so thanks for the post!

  3. That was a great metaphor, Ann. Love it! You write very well . . . I could almost picture the whole scene, so thank you!

  4. I didn't even think to take a picture of it until it flew off. I should have!

  5. You are a great writer - I hope you can quit your school job at some point and become a professional blogger!!

    Rick from Boston

  6. Thanks for this post. It made me smile as I have had similar experiences in the past and often wondered if the bug would ever find his/her home base again.......

  7. fabulous analogy. [i actually wondered that about a spider that rode (!) all the way home with us from vermont once, whether it'd be lonely and homesick or just grateful not to be flattened.] you crack me up.

  8. Thank you for writing such a great blog. I too would've caused an accident if a wasp was on my car BEFORE the big C diagnosis. I am about 3 months behind you on the cancer trail and have found your insights and common sense approach very helpful and reassuring as I navigate Cancerville, USA!


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