May 3, 2011

The little bug in the laundry

I went to do laundry today, and I saw a tiny, reddish-brown speck sitting, right on top, on a shirt. And it moved.

I took the shirt upstairs, grabbed my camera, and started taking pictures. Well, it was lively, and it was determined to get down, underneath that shirt. And eventually, I let it, and it crawled around on the glass of the table, and I could watch it from underneath.

I took the shirt away, and took more pictures as it edged closer to the edge of the table. I shouldn’t have been surprised when it dove off, down into the thick carpeting. And I shouldn’t have been surprised when it burrowed in.

And I must have looked ridiculous with the vacuum cleaner hose in my hand, with the shirt stretched over the nozzle, sweeping the carpet, trying to catch that little guy. I must have sounded crazy, muttering to it that if only it would let me catch it, I’d take it outside, let it go, and never bother it again. But after a few minutes, I had to let it go, and go put my clothes in the laundry.

And I started thinking about how we’re a race of beings who have a deep desire to impose order on the world, who gain deep satisfaction from looking around at our homes built to our specifications, and seeing everything where we mean it to be. And it sucks, because the world isn’t like that. There are other creatures living in our houses, and when we see them we try to kill them, or move them, or keep them out. But there’s a limit to what we can do — there are still creatures too small to see, living in our houses, living in our clothes, in our hair, on our skin, and even inside us. And we get so uncomfortable when we see something new, which was always there but we were better off not seeing, because there’s nothing we can do. And that’s OK, becuase it makes the world so damn interesting.