Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Ugly Bugs and Cranky Codgers
Look who I ran into in the driveway this morning. My first impulse was to chase him away, since he and his voracious ilk are not welcome in the garden. But wait! I know that he has beautiful scarlet wings. Maybe I could get a picture of them.....Looks like he could be in a monster movie, doesn't he? Even if he couldn't act. The sum of his parts are ugly, but the parts themselves beautiful. Just zoom in close, if you need proof.
He wasn't happy that I was persuing him. A lens bigger than his eye, aimed at him, may have made him think I was a predator with less than honourable intentions. What passersby thought, at seeing me lying in the middle of the driveway, is anybody's guess.....He didn't seem inclined to humour me by spreading his wings. He appeared to be injured. He seemed to have all his legs and all his antennae, so why he couldn't fly away remained a mystery.
I wasn't too sympathetic. I knew that, given back his flying ability, he would think nothing of dining on my flowers. I didn't call the insect ambulance. Just followed him around, clicking. Since he wasn't co-operating on the wing thing, I gave him a little push. He toppled over, exposing his yellow belly, thusly:
Not a very flattering shot. So I helped him to his several feet again, to save him further humiliation. Seeing him like that, flailing helplessly on his back, reminded me of something.
When we lived in Belgium,I was driving home from church one Sunday morning. I came to a traffic circle near where we lived. It was quiet. Sunday. Very few cars about. As I came around the circle I spotted a man wobbling on a bicycle, coming towards me, but on the sidewalk. As I watched in horror, he gave one last quavery wobble and fell off, with the bike on top of him. Being a compassionate person, I pulled over and got out of my car to help him.
He was an elderly gentleman---for want of a better term. He didn't seem hurt, just a little disoriented. I was talking to him in English and he was muttering to himself in Flemish. Obviously we weren't going to be communicating verbally. But the concern in my voice should have been apparent no matter the language. While he lay there, looking bemused, a cyclist came zooming along. One of the serious kind, complete with helmet and skin tight lycra. He stopped to see what had happened. The man on the ground spoke to him in Flemish. He looked at me. It wasn't a friendly look.
"He says you knocked him off his bicycle," he told me.
I was incredulous. The "gentleman" on the ground was proving to be no gentleman. He was in fact proving to be an unscrupulous liar. The biker dude ignored my protests, seeming to think the old codger was telling the truth. But he had a bicycle to ride. And miles to go. And a lack of interest in further involvement. I sputtered my outrage. Probably swore never to stop and help a Belgian in distress again. Biker Dude shrugged and left. Old Codger struggled to his feet, dusted himself off and was still muttering to himself in Flemish as I flounced back to my car, and drove away.
That ugly bug was lucky I let him limp off into the grass instead of squashing him under my crocs.