“Look at this cute little bee on my leg,” I said to Hubby yesterday. “Pull over so l can let him out of the truck. Poor thing, he doesn’t have much pollen to eat up here.” (We were in the drought-stricken hills west of Greybull, monitoring mining reclamation sites. In years with normal moisture, wildflowers like creeping aster, lupine, sunflower, and Rocky Mountain beeplant decorate those hills in June.)
Hubby muttered something sarcastic about me and my relationship with bees, spiders, and millers. I can’t blame him. My bug politics make no sense whatsoever.
I like spiders, and if one shows up in our house, I usually escort him safely outdoors. I wouldn’t think of smashing a spider. I love bees, and they and I work side by side in the flower beds, garden and hayfields in perfect accord. Even though spiders and bees have the potential to bite or sting, respectively, I have neither fear nor distaste of either. (I’m not even rattled by snakes.)
On the other hand, I despise millers, probably because I have an unreasonable fear of those dirty, disgusting, ugly, insidious villains. Moths can’t inflict pain or poison, so there’s no logical reason to jump and scream when one of them touches me. (Note to teachers who are miller-phobes: Don’t ever let on to your students that you have a fear of moths, or some mischief-makers will have a heyday with that information!)
My mom suffers from the same condition, but I don’t know whether miller-phobia is inherited or learned. Apparently there aren’t many like me and Mom because there hasn’t been much research on the topic. Even though my son Zach was raised in a miller-phobic home, neither nature nor nurture prevailed. Mercifully, he has no particular aversion to moths.
Zach’s thinking about majoring in psychology when he goes to college this fall. Hopefully he doesn’t decide to cure his mother’s phobia with exposure therapy!