Yesterday morning I woke up and went to the kitchen to make my first cup of tea, and noticed something in my dog’s water bowl. At first I thought I was imagining things, but after close inspection, it turned out to be an earthworm. Now I have to just stop right here and tell you that worms are my thing: the thing I am most terrified of in life, on a phobic level. I know it makes no sense, I know they are harmless, but phobias don’t make sense, that’s why they are phobias and not just regular fears.
And so, there I was, standing in my kitchen with a worm floating in my dog’s bowl. At first I thought it was dead, and that was gross, and bad enough, but I figured I could wait for my son to come home and take it outside for me.
But then. It started to move. No, it started to writhe in that creepy way a worm submerged in water will do, and then I felt sick to my stomach. (And before you laugh, just picture whatever you are most terrified of, sitting in a bowl in your kitchen when you wake up tomorrow. A snake? A tarantula?) And then I couldn’t do anything at all because, well, what if it crawled out of the bowl?
So I stood there, frozen, in my kitchen, wanting to scream, but no one was there to hear me anyway, and what good would it do, and it was, after all, just a worm. So I stood there and tried not to look, but I just had to keep looking because, really, how could there be a worm in this dish in my kitchen?
My back door seals nicely, there are rugs inside and outside the entrance, then three steps up, then another door with a rug in front of it. There is all of that between the outdoors, where worms live, and this dog dish. And somehow an earthworm traversed it all, looking for a drink of water?
Did my dog bring it in with him, on him, somehow? That might be even worse, because sometimes my husband lets him out in the morning, and then the dog comes right back in and jumps into bed with me. And if worms have the potential to be part of that package, then I need to start sleeping someplace much higher above sea level.
Did it come in on one of our shoes? One of mine? A worm was that close to my foot? I can’t even think about it.
Most likely, it simply dropped out of the sky, and if I go and look out the window right now, I will also see pigs flying by.
You can see how upset this made me, and this was before 7:00 a.m.
And I didn’t take a picture to put here, with this story, because I can’t even look at pictures of worms. So I chose a completely unrelated picture to distract myself.
I have learned to deal with this phobia over the years, when I first start gardening, as soon as I saw a worm I was done for the day, had to go inside. I know how good they are for my garden, so I have conditioned myself to live with them. I don’t pick them up or anything, but I have learned to work around them, ignore their presence, coexist. As long as they stay outside, where they belong.
And yes, I should get over it, I know that having a worm in a dish in your kitchen isn’t all that terrible. I know this. I do. But still, it made me nauseous. Thanks goodness my son came home shortly thereafter and rescued me.
And that wasn’t even close to being the worst thing that happened yesterday. The worst thing happened not to me, but to my parents, and it made us all cry. And that, what happened to them, wasn’t even the worst thing that could happen to anybody, there are many other, far worse things that can happen.
But when you wake up and there’s a worm in a dish in your kitchen, you have to assume it’s not going to be your best day.
And last night, all night, I had nightmares about worms.
I’m just saying.