Very occasionally I'm filled with a surge of motivation to organize a corner of my house that has been long forgotten. Yesterday, it was the pantry. This pantry contains the dog food and recycling bins and has been sadly neglected for months.
As I began furiously attacking it, pulling everything out - plastic recycling bins, grocery bags, dog food - I discovered a bag right at the back - an old red tote containing dog toys. The next thing I saw was a swarm of tiny, tubular worm things. All over the bag. Bugs. Creepy, crawly, dead bug things.
I attempted to keep breathing, but for a moment I think all oxygen entering and leaving my body ceased, and then, finally, I let out a scream, or a squeal, or maybe something resembling a rodent being strangled. And then, as I felt cold sweaty panic rising up my entire being, I froze.
I hate maggots like an arachnophobe loathes tarantulas. Okay, maybe not that bad, but something like it. Something about the sight of the sneaky little critters makes my skin crawl. I quickly become itchy. I imagine they're all over me. I fear the worst.
But, despite my repulsion of the beasts, I decided I had to tackle them, there and then, because no one else was going to, dammit. I grabbed a garbage bag and begun to lob everything I could lay my hands on in there. I vowed to myself that not a single one of the eerie little bastards would be left by the time I was done. I was on a mission.
I threw out everything I could lay my hands on - the red tote, the dog toys, every container and bag in sight. As I tried to dispose of it all, some of the pesky fiends fell out onto the floor. Some of them became stuck to my socks. They attached to the sides of the garbage bag. They were fixed to everything with some kind of strange static.
My toddler tried to enter the room, interested in the commotion. I yelled for him to leave right away. Then I apologized, but told him to stay away for now.
I began having paranoid visions of maggots taking over the world, infesting my life, of them trying to eat me and kill me with their poisonous venom. (what? Maggots totally could have poisonous venom!)
I screamed. I stamped my feet. I took off my socks and threw them away as well.
I held my breath, not wanting to breathe in maggots. I threw everything out, then took the garbage bags to the back garden.
Then I vacuumed fiercely, probing every nook of the pantry with the nozzle.
When the frantic episode of cleaning and disinfecting was done, and all the nasty insects were gone, I sat, googling pictures of household pests. You know, just to torture myself further.
Then I perched on the sofa, frozen, itching and feeling queasy. I called J at work to confirm that maggots were not, in fact dangerous. You know, just in case.
After that, my day was basically ruined by the indelible image of the maggots. In my house.
Later that night we were sitting, watching telly and, out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed one - a tricky little bug, clinging to the side of the footstool.
"AAARRRRGGHHH!" I shrieked, waving my finger at the thing and inching into the back of the sofa.
"What? What the hell is wrong?" J asked, a little alarmed by my shrieking.
"It's a beast! A maggot! GET IT OUT!!!"
"What? This?" Jesse picked the devil thing off the footstool to inspect it.
"Nooooooo!" It was too much to bare. The touching, the examining, at close range.
"Get it out! Now!"
"This. This is a grain of rice."
"A grain of rice. From dinner."
"THAT IS A MAGGOT!" I yelled convincingly and promptly moved to the other side of the room.
"No. It's not a maggot. It's a grain of rice."
" Yes. Those "maggots" you saw earlier - did they look like this?"
"Exactly like that! Are you sure that's not a maggot?"
"They were white? This size? With ridges like this?"
"And none of them were moving?"
"Remember a week ago we had take-out sushi for dinner and we threw the containers in the recycling?"
"I think some of the rice must have fallen on the floor behind the recycling bin."
Some further examination of the grain of rice, and googling of pictures of real maggots confirmed that, yes okay, what I'd been throwing a screaming tantrum over were, in fact, grains of flipping rice.
Socks: gone. Dog toys: gone. Sanity: gone.