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.


Birdydownunder said...

well you might have done a sneaky huff and puff and blown him off his bike, wonder what he told his wife when he got home. Love the photos you have definitely upped the antee here. Camera here I come.

Stomper Girl said...

Sounds like the old dude was either far too worried about his dignity or losing his marbles. Still, it's not quite the reward you'd expect for a good deed.

Anonymous said...

You were too slow... You should have counter-claimed. "Only because he exposed himself to me!" Then he's the crazy codger again.

riseoutofme said...

Ugly Codgers and Cranky Bugs more likely.

I think he's quite beautiful ... the bug not the OTHER ..

Ali Honey said...

Love the detail in your top photo. I can just see you lying down to get up close with that critter!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Ooooo. That last sentence. Wasn't sure you were talking about the bug!

Thimbleanna said...

That first photo is gorgeous! Great story -- thanks for the smile.

Pam said...

That grasshopper or whatever he was looks alarmingly enormous, especially when enlarged but even when not. Unless that's very short grass in your photo (which is amazingly good. You ought to enter it for a competition.) He's beautiful. Do grasshoppers or whatever he is eat flowers?

Snails, now. Snails we have in copious amounts and they certainly eat flowers. I do not like snails AT ALL.

meggie said...

Amazing photo! Perhaps his wings had not grown large enough? They look a little stunted to me... but what do I know.
I laughed at Tracey's counter claim suggestion, for the old codger. So is the Belgian launguage called Flemish?

molly said...

Yes, he's some sort of grasshopper. I believe "goliath" is part of his name. His wings do look small, but when he flies they are amazingly beautiful. He is a prime suspect in the unmerciful chomping of flower seedlings that Rise and I planted when she visited.

Flemish is the Belgian version of the Dutch language, spoken by half the population. The other half speaks French. They do not like each other.
I met many very friendly Belgians, but some were very resentful of the presence in their country of foreigners, as it meant increased prices, especially rents.I think they should have directed their resentment at their government instead, for allowing rents to soar, unchecked. The old codger in my story was probably seeing dollar signs, even as he reeled from his fall. There's no misfortune so bad it can't be manipulated to line somebody's pockets.....but his accusation was too ridiculous and far fetched.....not to mention untrue.
Tracey---the poor old geezer was having trouble controlling his bike.To do what you suggest I should have counter-accused him of would have required a degree of dexterity that he'd lost at least twenty years before our Sunday morning encounter!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Absolutely hilarious... what a wonderful pair of stories!

And great shots to boot! Don't know what the bug thought of the camera, but I sure like it!

I awarded you with a thoughtful blogger award on my page... please drop by when you get a chance, and pick it up.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Aunty Evil said...

Bloody old bugger was probably hoping for a hefty insurance payout!

Tanya Brown said...

Grrrrr! How dare that man try to tell such a rude, damaging lie!

That's a very healthy-looking grasshopper you have there. Methinks he has been supping off your garden rather well.

Eastcoastdweller said...

I have a feeling the old codger was probably a little drunk. I had something similar happen in Hungary when I was over there.

A sweet looking little old granny just suddenly toppled over into the grass. I stopped to help and soon became aware that she was quite inebriated but otherwise just fine.

We gardeners like to think we're some kind of peaceful nature children, but truth is, we face the constant dillema -- to squash or not to squash.