I’m scared of large groups of ants to this day because of something that happened when I was about 10 or 11.
My older sister and I got into a fight when we were home alone (I belive it was about whether Boy George was a man or a woman) and she slapped the HELL out of me. I ran out of the house, around the corner to the next block, and sat on a big lump of dug-up concrete that wasn’t quite on the side of the road but also not quite in someone’s yard.
I sat there sobbing my little-kid heart out, face in hands, until I felt something bite my right side. I looked down and I was covered from the waist down in gigantic red wood ants.
I do remember running. I don’t remember screaming.
My sister heard me from a block away (I remember her saying she never heard screaming like it) – from inside our brick, air conditioned house – as I ran for home. She had me strip naked in our back yard and used the garden hose to get the ants off of me. I don’t remember what happened afterwards, but I think our stupid fight was quickly forgotten and I am still grateful that she forgot our silly fight and helped me so quickly and efficiently. Even when I still had her perfect red hand print on my face!
It’s been a few decades since this event, and if I am ever surprised by an ant, or worse a colony of ants, I calmly freak right the hell out. Or at least I think I am calm when falling over backwards to get away…
What scares you, so long after the immediate threat is gone? We likely all have some serious flashback memories – I will never ask for those. I don’t mean real trauma, but small things like this that have never left you.