It pains me to write this down, but I must.
All type of frogs, from the incredibly huge and ugly Cane Toads to the tiniest tree frog the eye can see: All have the power to bring me to tears and the shakes and nausea. They put the fear of god into me, and it's been this way since I was about 4.
When I was four I was at my Nanna K's house, and she had an outdoor toilet. (Interesting note about my Nanna - she didn't have an indoor toilet until she turned 84. Can you imagine?) I went to the toilet and there in the bowl was a frog. I didn't know it was there until I sat down. I may have screamed and tore out of that small building with my pants around my ankles. Ever since then frogs have held this over me. I can feel them judging me when I run into one (which happens more than it should considering I live in the frigging desert dammit!*). I can see them planning their assault on me. I firmly believe they can smell fear. They can smell my fear.
So anyway, back to last night. I was at work, outside in the sample prep shed helping C get the samples ready for assay when I see what looked suspiciously like a lump of mud. It was about the size of a small lime. I walked over it a few times, and then I realized why this looked odd to me in an area that is normally very mudy. Only half an hour ago C had washed and squeegeed the floor. And while it can get dirty out there, it can't get the dirty that quickly. And, then there was the fact that lumpy mud was the wrong colour. It almost looked like it was trying to blend with the colour of the concrete.
“Hmmm,” I says to myself. “This bears a closer inspection.” So the next time I have to walk over it, I crouch down a titch and look.
I run “It's a frog! There's a frog!” I yell to C in a voice that is about 4 octaves higher than Alvin the Chipmunks. She looks over at me, stops what she's doing and walks over to the lump. She pokes it -Pokes! It! - and it hops away from here. "I've gotta go! I'll send out help!" I may have squealed. Okay, there was no maybe about it. I squealed and with a show of strength Superman would have been proud of I practically flicked a garage double-door open with one hand, threw the sample I was holding under the heat plates and sprinted inside where if I could have I would have locked the door.
Poor C is now left outside to do the job of two people, since I ain't going back out there. I am officially in hiding. From a frog the size of a small lime.
My boss came into the room I was about 15 mintues later, laughing at me (what's with that?!?! I am seconds away from projectile vomiting from getting so close to the Demon Frog. Show some pity man!) and he told me he had removed the frog. It was now about 200 metres in that direction. “I don't care; I'm not going back out there.” Which got a bit of a raised eyebrow, but I wasn't moving.
C was more understanding, as she's seem me in frog-fear before. She and I have an understand - if there's frogs, she deals with it, if there's spiders that's me.
You want to know the worst thing about being scared of frogs? No-one cares. If you've got a thing about snakes or spiders everyone nods sympathetically and pats you on the shoulder and takes care of the situation for you. You have a mild and healthy respect for a frog's space people laugh uncontrollably about you being petrified of it. “It's a frog! They're so small!” People sputter out between bouts of giggles. I. Don't. Care. I have a phobia -Ranidaphobia (fear of frogs) And did you know there's a whole different name for a fear of toads (Bufonophobia) and then there's Batrachophobia (fear of amphibians). Does that mean there are people out there who are afraid of frogs but not toads? That doesn't make sense. And really, everyone should be allowed one irrational fear in life. For some people, that's clowns. For me, it's frogs.
And once I had stopped dry retching from being so close to the damn thing C tells me some very bad things. “It puffed up when I touched it. I think it was a Cane Toad.”
“If Cane Toads have made it here, I'm leaving town.” I say very seriously.
“I know you will.” Replies C, equally as serious.
And it's true; I will move to Tasmania if that's the only Cane Toad-free state in Australia. I know they've found them in Sydney, and they've been seen in Kakadu. It was only a matter of time before they surfaced in South Australia.
*Apparently it's quite common to find frogs here. What they do is burrow into the soil and hibernate - for years if need be - until there's enough rain to sustain them and allow for breeding. Damn evolution for thwarting my desert frog-free zone theory!