I spent one evening, just like any other, lying on my stomach in my comfortable bed with a pair of over the ear headphones on my head. One on my left ear and the other speaker resting on my cheek so that I wouldn’t be completely cut off from the outside world while I watched Archer (a lewd and hilarious cartoon about a spy) on Netflix. My bedroom is my haven. I wouldn’t doubt that that is the case for many people. It’s completely decorated by me and I control what goes in and out, for the most part. It’s my wonderful slice of comfort in a home that I share with my family.
So I end the night after watching the last episode of Archer available for streaming on Netflix. I remove the headphones, close the laptop and turn over to sleep on my side cuddled comfortably with my brand new pillows that I purchased from Target a week ago. My ear is slightly sweaty from the headphone being on it for an hour, but that doesn’t trouble my slumber at all. I slip blissfully into “La La Land” and experience a dreamless rest that felt as if I were surrounded by large cumulus clouds.
Happy happy little clouds, like Bob Ross said.
I awake the next morning, while it is still fairly dark, to a ringing in my left ear. My brain informs me that I’ve listened to the sound too loud and am now paying for it via bells. I fall back asleep after about 10 seconds of continuous ringing. The next time I awake, the light filtering through the curtains is streaming through as a soft washed out grey. My sister sticks her head through the door, which is ajar, asking me where I put some hair care product and I twist my head to answer her in a deeper than normal morning voice. As I turn my head I hear a flutter in my left ear. It resembles the sound of water that gets stuck in your ear. It was gentle but loud, “flubbbflubub.” I place my palm on my ear to create a suction and tap the outside with my open hand. The sound repeats but this time it’s a bit softer. I go through my morning routine groggy and hearing this sound every now and again at differing intensities and an occasional ache.
Because it is morning, I don’t have my glasses on and everything is quite blurry. I go to the bathroom to get a Q-Tip to see if I can alleviate some of the water by cleaning my ear. I begin to probe my left ear and pull the Q-Tip out to see if it has any debris on it. As expected, it is completely clean, but the fluttering water in the ear sound is louder. So I change the angle of the Q-Tip and pull down. As I do this it feels as if the cotton swab has come off the the stick as I drag something out I hear “shriiiipppp” and I feel something small, yet solid, hit my palm. I inspect the Q-Tip and find the cotton swab still intact and white. I get on all fours and begin inspecting the floor. The fluttering sound and ache have gone. I search and find nothing because my glasses are on my night table and life is all a fuzz. I stand up and search the area around the sink…..still nothing. I get on all fours again and search the floor more carefully with my face no less than five inches from the ground.
To my complete and utter HORROR, I find a half dead silverfish struggling for life in front of me. It dawns on me that THAT is what I pulled out of my ear. Every time I changed the position of my head I heard the struggles of its six flailing legs as it tried to exit my ear canal. I realize that the ringing and the ache I felt was the result of its gross little head pushing on my ear drum as it tried to search for another way out, but didn’t realize that forward was NOT the way to go. I stand up quickly in shock and a touch of fear. I’m not afraid of insects. In fact I collect preserved specimens and do my best to capture and release rather than kill those that get trapped in the house, but when one decides to nestle inside my head….that is another story. I got back on all fours to ensure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and there it was trying to crawl away after it had violated my ear. In anger I smashed the bastard with a tissue and my fist about 3 times as hard as I could.
My mouth hung open in disgust an horror. I dispose of the tissue and do the jitterbug dance (no pun intended) of repulsion and fear as every inch of by body is tingling as if covered in the tiny little monsters. I move quickly into my room, which was my haven to search my bed sheets. As I turn on the light I half expect my room to be covered with the monsters. I only find my five pound black and brown yorkie slumbering at the foot of the bed. He looks at me with annoyance for turning on the light and stretches and yawns before he jumps down and out of the bed to continue his sleep in some other part of the house.
I, on the other hand, have begun to pull the sheets back and inspect the walls. My room now feels like a war zone. I hunt for the ninja silverfish clan. I find nothing….First thing any good warrior is taught is to know thy enemy. I do an internet search and find out everything about them and find several stories about the assault these alien-like creatures have done to other people’s ears.
Look at it. Do you want to hug it? Do you want it anywhere near you? No??? Does it remind you of anything? The Matrix maybe?
I find some comfort in the fact that others have been, what I call, Ear Raped by these gross little monsters.
Throughout the day I picture this thing walking on my face and wiggling its way into my ear canal and even as I write this story I still get chills. I need therapy and have PTSD from this event. I invent stories of the bug actually being an alien brain control device that I removed. I invent other stories of the beast laying eggs in my ear. Then see vivid images of tiny versions of it bursting out of my ear and running down my neck and across my face to the disgust of those surrounding me. My face in a silent scream.
This is the face I imagine except with bugs crawling out of its head and wrapping around the face and neck. Good old Edvard.
I torture myself with this for about a week and then I realize…get over it. Sometimes bugs crawl in your ears and completely fuck up your day, but you’ve got to move on.
This, I realize, is applicable to life as well. Sometimes people are the bugs that crawl in your ear and fuck up your day. It will only screw with you for as long as you allow it to alter your routine and dominate your thoughts. At some point you’ve got to move on. Hey, at least I got the bastard out! It could’ve went a whole different way, but we won’t entertain those negative thoughts any longer now…..will we…..?
(1)Jeffrey Hahn and Stephen A. Kells http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1018.html
(2) USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wcumulus.htm