About two weeks ago, I was heading home from work on the highway during rush hour. I was just south of the Central Interchange, known locally (or just by me, maybe) as the human race’s worst engineering failure since the beginning of time. So there I was, driving along and singing my little heart out, when out of the corner of my right eye I saw something large, black and winged scuttle underneath the passenger seat of my car.
Let me repeat that: I saw something large, black, and winged scuttle underneath the passenger seat of my car.
My heart sped up; I noticed my hands on the steering wheel were trembling. I imagined there was a mole or a rat or something in my car, except it had wings, so it probably wasn’t a mole or a rat. Oh god, what if it was a BAT? Like a fucking vampire bat? And what if it starts freaking out because it’s trapped in my car and zipping around in circles with no way to escape and it gets caught in my eyelashes or my hair or my mouth OHMYGOD OHMYGOD OHMYGOD I’M HYPERVENTILATING I CANNOT BREATHE OHMYGOD.
I finally reached an exit. I imagine it was only a few minutes, but it felt like eternity. It was in an, um, less fancy part of town, but that wasn’t really at the top of my priority list at that point in time. I flew down the ramp, my heart attempting to pound a giant hole through my chest plate, pulled over at the first available location and tumble-rolled from the car in true Chuck Norris fashion.
As far as I could tell, the murderous winged creature had not yet reemerged from its lair near the floorboards of my trusty ol’ Camry.
I opened all the doors. I rolled down all the windows. Nothing. No sign of it. Ten uneventful minutes passed. Eventually my heartbeat returned to that of a normal, healthy person not being attacked by a grizzly gargantuan beast in the privacy of her own vehicle. I decided to try some bravery on for size and picked up a snow scraper. I used it to, very slowly, move the passenger seat back as far as it would go. Still no sign of the ghastly monster. I did what I think any adult would do in this situation.
I called Sean to save me.
“Honey, you’re going to make fun of me for the rest of our lives, but I really need your help.”
He was there within 10 minutes, wearing thick gardening gloves and holding a flashlight. He dove right in, digging through my car like, I dunno, somebody who wasn’t scared for his life. It was impressive.
A few more minutes passed before Sean announced, “Oh, here it is!” My heart started pounding again. I was about to face my would-be attacker. What if it was angry at me? What if it told all of its creepy little friends about me and they crawled into my windows at night and smothered me in my sleep? What if it killed Sean? Would I ever forgive myself (probably eventually)? What would happen to our cats, growing up without a father?
I walked toward my car slowly. Sean was shining a flashlight up under my dashboard. I crouched to look, my palms sweaty with anticipation.
It was a bumblebee.
“It’s just a bumblebee,” Sean said.
“Yeah, I see that. Still dangerous though. What if it had stung me in my eyeballs while driving? I could’ve died in a fiery crash. On the goddamn Central Interchange.”
“Yeah, sure, that totally could’ve happened,” Sean muttered. He prodded the bumblebee out onto the gravel and crunched it under his foot. Dead bumblebee = safe Kristen.
“See you at home?” he said, getting back into his car.
“Sure. I’ll pick up Taco Bell,” I replied.
And then we went home and stuffed ourselves with Doritos/taco hybrids and I never thought about the bumblebee again.