Three Saturdays ago, after a decent night of drinking and watching the musical Xanadu, I was startled awake at 2am by the feeling of something crawling into my right ear. That’s not a pleasant sensation, waking up from a beer-induced slumber to the sound and the feeling of tiny, crunchy leglets navigating your interior. Whatever it was crawled and crawled and crawled. Bad enough, I reckon. But then, when it got in there good and deep, it began biting my eardrum, which hurt worse that the Olivia Newton John music I’d been forced to endure earlier. I told you that I’m a nurse and over the years have learned to remain calm in scary situations. Well, I didn't really pull that off here. I shot out of bed naked, screaming "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!" while jumping up and down on one leg and crying. It was really a great moment in my life. I imagine the neighbors thought I was having a little Amityville Horror reinactment.
You know what's worse than the searing pain of being bit repeatedly on the eardrum? Hearing it. Way the fuck up close. chewchewchewchew. And it would stop for a second, then I'd feel/hear it slither or stroll or line dance around in there, then it would start the chewing on me business again and I'd start jumping around and crying and trying to scream it out of my ear. Is there a hidden camera in my house?
In my state, I decided the only thing I could do was to drive to my hospital for help. So in between the crawling/chewing/screaming/jumping, I pulled some clothes on (which included the Schlitz belt buckle, because even in horrifying circumstances fashion is important), and got into the car and tore off and blew through every goddamn red light while still screaming and crying from the pain and the terror of it all- daring any cop to pull me over and try to figure out how much bath salts I ingested. And there was actually a moment on 360 at 2:28 am when I thought "Well- at least I’ll get a good story out of this, and it could only be better if I also had diarrhea." And right after I thought that, before I pulled onto Bee Caves road to humiliate myself with my psychotic behavior in front of my coworkers, I felt that fucker crawl out of my ear.
Have you ever seen someone try to get away from themselves while trying to stay in the driver’s seat and still actually operating a car? I knew it was out, but I didn’t know where it went- it was dark and I was looking mostly at the road. So all I knew to do was to perpetrate the most violent assault on myself- my shoulder, my arm, my head and hair- to make sure that thing was either dead or scared enough of me to stay the fuck away.
I turned around and drove home while steering with my knee so I could keep my hands over my ears. When I got home I tore all the sheets and pillows off the bed, took off my clothes and laid my Schlitz belt buckle on the shelf where it belongs. Then I drank a large glass of red wine, stuffed ear plugs in both sides and went to sleep like it was just another Saturday night. Because that's how it is around my house lately. And it was all just bizarre enough that the next morning I wondered if perhaps I’d imagined it or dreamed it, or maybe someone slipped bath salts into my drink at the bar but my eardrum throbbed like someone had raped the side of my head. With an alligator. I called a friend and told her about it and she said "Why didn't you just pour rubbing alcohol into your ear?" She said it like everyone knows to do this, like everyone, in a state of compete panic and terror, would stroll into the bathroom, open the cabinet, and just handle the situation. Well, thanks a lot friend, but I wasn't really scraping great thoughts together at 2am on a Saturday with an alligator in my ear.
And as I haven’t owned rubbing alcohol since I got my ears pierced in 6th grade, I went the next day to buy the biggest bottle of it possible. But I got a ride to Walgreens from my friend, because there’s only so much driving you can do with your knee.