(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

(c) 2015 Trina Lambert

Still trying to erase some of the pictures I’ve viewed over the past few weeks, but so far to no avail. When I agreed to proofread a biology textbook, I forgot about my aversion to certain kinds of critters—including the kinds I can’t see and especially those that are always looking for a good host or hostess. I should be thankful I only saw a scorpion and a salamander in my dream, right? Yes, in my house I am known as Princess Mia—a reference to Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series and how Mia is always certain she has whatever disease she is studying in her science classes.

Perhaps this ability to think too much about living organisms is the real reason I avoided studying science like the plague. Yes, that statement is not only a cliché but also another reminder that there is yet another reason for me to panic—thanks to wet conditions, the plague is alive and well and thriving in local critters—and has killed two people so far here in Colorado. This year we’ve also got rabies, tularemia, and West Nile disease. Don’t forget Hantavirus either. Not only has our state reported three fatalities but I also saw a mouse in my house this very day. We’re all going to DIE . . . and if not from that mouse, then from some random bear and her very hungry cubs who can’t find enough chokecherries thanks to the bad timing of the most recent fall and spring freezes.

And for certain I’m never going to walk barefoot again in my back yard. I have dogs, for goodness’ sake, and who knows what all might be living inside them. And all the dust bunnies inside the house that I considered annoying but harmless are probably just full of living and breathing and thriving dust mites?

After reading all those chapters filled with pictures of microorganisms, parasites (that can grow how long?), reptiles, and insects, I was almost relieved to see those photos of the fetal pigs. Almost—but I did concede to proofing that chapter after I ate my dinner. Because uncooked pigs can host what? Don’t get me started, right? And the human chapters were the best because these chapters were just overviews of properly functioning systems. After what I’d seen in previous chapters, a little drawing detailing the human reproductive system was almost nothing on my personal gross-out scale.

I need to get back to experiencing the world in my usual more-ethereal way—one where I am in the world but not of the world too much. Or at least when I get to choose to see what I want to see and to ignore what I most certainly do not want to see. Would be so much easier if I hadn’t just spotted that mouse this morning—oh Lord, save me from an active and informed imagination. Eek—it’s time for gloves and masks and disinfectant—just picture that.