Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People are weaker than you may think

Outside . . . running. Gnats bouncing off my face, clinging to my hair, tumbling down my cheek. Me, breathing through a closed mouth; the resulting pain in my abdomen growing more piercing. Eyes squinting, blinking, fluttering in retaliation. Gnats everywhere, illuminated by the setting sun like dust particles in my unclean apartment.

There are two things that I honestly believe could drive me to insanity. One--an inescapable, constant and relentless high-pitched screech. The other--a persistent attack by tiny beings.

The first, I uncovered in college. Our dorm room went without being vacuumed until my roommate brought an upright from home. It was inexpensive--meant for nothing greater than what we intended it for--but when she turned it on, I swear I almost lost my mind.

I remember sitting on my bed, hearing the most relentless, high-pitched noise and wondering if it was possible that the vacuum was producing such a sound . . .or if I was going crazy. When my roommate, vigorously vacuuming our rug, offered no indication that she too heard this unbearable sound, I tried to push it out of my head.

But I couldn't.

For five minutes, I sat, listening--straining--trying to prove to myself that I wasn't making it up. That I wasn't going crazy. Painful, relentless. As the minutes passed and no passersby mentioned the terrible noise, I began reasoning with my unreasonable self.

Surely, if she heard it she would turn off the vacuum. . .

Surely, someone would have come in and said something . . .

Surely, I'm not the only one hearing this . . .

Surely, I'm not going crazy . . .

. . . But what if this is how it starts?

The seconds ticked by until I could take it no longer. I had to get away. I darted out of the room, listening carefully.

The sound subsided.

The second, happened today. All those gnats. Hundreds of gnats. Everywhere I went. I thought I may just have a breakdown right there in the road.

I returned to the apartment early and scrubbed my face, neck and hands. I did not want to go crazy.


  1. oh man amanda! i feel for you on this one. For me its uncontrolable sneezing and sinus exploding and being ignored for a VERY Long peroid of time. (probably cause my dad ignored 3/4 of my life. Hi pierce noises get me too and baby crying for more than hour. Anyway that stinks......

  2. Soybean Aphids. That's what people around here are calling them. Supposedly, they will disappear when the soybean crop is harvested. I'm even having dreams/nightmares about these bugs being on my face. I woke up the other night wiping my face because I thought they were stuck to me. Uhg!