Last night I rolled over to turn off the light on the other side of the bed and I realized something was looking at me. Then I realized that there was an enormous, bright green, praying mantis looking at me. It was perched on the lamp shade and I’m guessing it had been watching me read. Or maybe it was drawn to the light?
Dave was still up working in our office and I called to him to come at a reasonably quick clip.
“what? what? what?” he ran into the room concerned.
“a bug! a big one!”
So he went to get some toilet paper to squish it.
“ummm…Dave. It’s a really big bug. I don’t think you can squish it with toilet paper.”
Dave came over to get a better look so he could decide his course of action… and when Dave walked over, the praying mantis turned it’s head and looked at Dave. I’m not even kidding. It had tiny black eyes…and a head that turns…and it turned to look at Dave.
“It’s looking at you!” I said. And then the praying mantis turned to look back at me. And for a while, the three of us all looked back and forth at each other.
Now…listen. I’m from Vermont. My parents live on a dirt road. I was outside all the time when I was kid. But I’ve encountered WAY more wildlife in New York City than I have anywhere else. New York City is teaming with nature. So much so, that it doesn’t all fit outdoors…it eventually makes its way in. I’ve seen an amazing amount of bugs and mice…once even a bird flew in. I like to think I’ve developed a thick skin when it comes to facing this stuff…but this was totally different. In all of the bugs and rodents I’ve seen, I never once had the sense that any of them were looking at me.
“I think he’s scared.” assessed Dave. He put aside his wad of toilet paper and went to go find something to capture it. He got a big plastic bowl and a wooden spoon and knocked it into the bowl while I helped by crouching on the other side of the bed, using a pillow blockade to protect me from the insect’s mantis might. Dave released it out the window (maybe we need screens?) and then closed the window tightly to prevent any return visits.
So…add it to the list of Things I Learned In New York City. Praying Mantises, when perched on your bedside lamp, will indeed turn their heads to look at you when you approach them. And for some reason, that is eerily fascinating to me. It makes me think that last night we were visited by a small, strange-but-common alien. And I’m really hoping it didn’t start a colony in my bedroom. But…only time will tell.
Last weekend I printed out a “how to draw skulls” step-by-step guide and got the boys to work on creating this year’s Halloween banner. And I LOVE how the drawings and the banner came out! But, after coming face to face with a live praying mantis, these once spooky skeletons are really not that spooky at all anymore.