DeTech-tive Series – Part 1

Day 2 sitting out here staring at the wilderness. I’m learning about new plants and insects.

Two days back, during a work meeting, I felt something flying down with the weight of a heavy dead leaf and land on the brown adirondack chair right behind my neck. I jumped up, exclaiming loud, fully expecting whatever it was to have flown away already.

I was surprised to see 2 big eyes looking up at me from the back of a matte black insect that looked relatively harmless. It was the length of my thumb, but double in width. But I have small hands. So half whatever image you have in your head.

I tried to reason why it looked “harmless”. The lack of any protruding forcep like appendages from its head definitely helped. The body of the insect was matte black like I mentioned, but with a dusting of white splashes across its body. I got closer to it as I heard Luigi go “whoa what is it?” at the other end of the call. I’d turned the camera around so that he could see what I was looking at. My mind reaffirmed me that it was harmless.

Shiny/Glossy = Poisonous

Matte = Harmless

Now don’t ask me how my subconscious did that instant math. But that’s what my mind told me, and I trusted it. 

Isn’t that what the gut is meant to be? Nothing but a combined mental aggregate of your life’s experiences that will help you make decisions quicker than making instant coffee? I trusted my gut the same way I wish I’d trusted my gut the last time I complicated my life. 

But no, this story about the beetle isn’t about how it complicated my life. Because it didn’t. And it is likely something I should scratch off my “My Uncomplicated Story” book. But that is for the second draft. For now, I’m leaving it in my first draft, and you get to hear all about this matte black insect with big eyes. But I will also extract this and publish this as a blog post. There you go.

“Elongated black beetle with big eyes” I found myself typing in google as I heard Luigi in the distance talking about how this is why he doesn’t work from the backyard, and how I should get citronelli and maybe even a bug screen. 

“Eastern Eyed Click Beetle”, aka “Alaus Oculatus”. That’s what its name was and apparently it was harmless. But those big white spots on its back were apparently fake eyes. It’s in disguise!

I peered closer to it and tried to blow on it to see if it would move. It didn’t budge. It didn’t want to leave my chair. So I gave up and found the other adirondack chair and settled down to finish my call with Luigi, even as I tried to commit to my brain that a dusty looking matte rattlesnake is still poisonous. I hoped my gut would react appropriately the next time I see one.

This concludes this story in my de-tech-tive series, where you will learn about “mysteries” I solved using tech (basically google).

* this story is partly fiction, and names of humans have been changed