Saturday, June 02, 2007

FRED ROVER, DREAD ROVER by (me!) sandra, ttgp

car show at the fairgrounds behind me, plus the farmer's market ahead.. my neighborhood is packed with people today; mostly men. they're everywhere!

this would have been the perfect day for me to discover FRED ROVER ONE in my garage, but no. the streets were practically abandon that day; some three days ago now. i was so alone.

and terrified.

there i was, all showered, shined and good smellin, in my cute tea length denim skirt, white shirt and sandals, with the bare skin of my feet, and darling red painted toenails all vulnerable to the outside elements

i grabbed the silver metal handle of the garage door, gave it a secret code combination twist and then started liftin'

and i was smiling. i was smiling because i knew once i lifted the garage door all the way open, which requires me toward the end to balance on my tip-toes

i was going to be rewarded with the beautiful vision of all the hard work i had put into cleaning, vacuuming and organizing my side of the garage.

"wow! you truly are amazing sandra" i thought to myself, "and brave!" -because it is scary, scary, scary moving boxes all around when you just know in any given second a big, fast, creepy, crawly thing and all it's cousins are going to come racing toward you. but i wore gloves and i had spray

plus james morrison

so got the job done.

and didn't i just feel all proud of myself as i was hopping in my hybrid to take off for the day. i removed my right sandal (because otherwise i can't work the gas pedal), reversed her out of my beautiful clean garage onto the driveway and put her back in park so i could hop out and pull the garage door closed

and that's when i saw him

that's when i screamed and did the heebie-jeebie dance; one foot bare

there he lay on his back, in creepy crawling motion, on a freshly sprayed and vacuumed, perfectly clean patch of cement.

is this the devil at recess; or God at work?

and i know that most people when meeting neighbors for the first time, might say something like, "hi. my name is blah, blah, blah.. what's your's? and, nice to meet you and things like that

but i spotted a lady minding her own business on the other side of the street and i felt quite comfortable yelling in a panic

"hey! -you know anything about bugs?!"

and that's how i met my three doors down and across the street neighbor laurie. she came over just like that and took a look. and she debated out loud whether he was a cockroach, or a beetle, or some other bug creature that starts with a p.. parlimeeto? -can't remember. some bug that loves wood -which- as an artist, i just happen to have three shit loads of in my garage

but she said.. "i get them too. you can just sweep them out and the birds will eat 'em."

too late for that, though. i already poisoned natures bird food.

and me being who i am, i had to take his picture. because i'm planning on graduating from my own mental academic bug desensitization program.

i tapped into my courage reserves just to scoot that stupid quarter next to him and help tame my own exaggerations about how big he was. without that quater, which took me some ten minutes plus to sweep near his frozen dead, poisoned body, i would have claimed he was the size of a hub cap on an airplane's tire

but i think this effort, as pathetic as it is, qualifies me for entry level hope status in the college of that's enough!

but now i must confess, when i uploaded his pictures on my computer, clicked slide show

and portraits of FRED ROVER ONE -unidentified dead bug on back, flashed full screen size on my monitor screen

the only twelve steps i took were instant and backwards.

"holy to God shit!" i screamed. jumped out of my chair, covered my face, ran backwards into the wall and started singin' opera.

it is a genuine full fledge phobia.

and after our photo shoot, FRED ROVER ONE remained on the floor, quarter next to him, because, for one, i just couldn't tolerate being near him again, and two, i had to show him to my children.

they love this kind of thing; mommy scared shitless.

and they delighted in telling all about the giant bug in our garage to the crossing guard on our way to school. then she started talking to us in great detail about these cockroach, beetle like creatures, some 5 inches long, she used to get at her place in florida. "they fly" she said. and quite instantly i jumped back and gasped at the terrifying image she put in my mind of this thing in my garage flying at me.

my children just laughed and laughed. -but having heard this, didn't i consider it a gift from God now that i found FRED on the ground. on his back. immobile and helpless.

had i gone closer to FRED with the toxic spray can, and he suddenly flipped over and took flight toward me... i promise you i would still be running around pleasanton with one shoe on, one shoe off, waving my arms wildly in the air yelling "code orange! code orange! somebody call 911!"

and this brings me exactly where i hoped to eventually arrive. at eric kandel's work with sweet aplysia, the marine snail, and the difference between habitization and sensitization.

i understand the results of his research completely, but struggle like heck trying to explain it to others. ... the threshold... ... that tipping point... but here i go again:

habitization goes like this: i see FRED. i run and scream. -but- through repeated exposures to FRED, eventually, over time, i go from a run to a walk, from a scream to a sigh, until one day, even the size of six giant FREDS floating in my cereal bowl doesn't phase me.

this can also be referred to as a miracle.

sensitization goes like this: FRED attacks me. i run and scream. end up in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. someone wants to help through habituating me; thinks by showing me a thumbnail size picture of a FRED in a calm environment, i'll slowly recover

but instead i have a heart attack and die.

it is crucial, crucial, crucial -life or death- to understand the physical/mental impact of that initial stimuli so you know whether desensitization techniques will hurt or heal.

and now, yesterday, i encountered DREAD ROVER TWO, fred's not-lost-long-enough-for-me younger brother.

i ran for the spray and sent another early bird for just a worm.

but i think i might hide the spray and prop the broom against the wall where i can see it and get to it quickly.

then next time i encounter one of these DREAD ROVERS in my garage

i'll hop on and fly away.