“Mr. Ladybug”

I set up my laptop at the table of the coffee shop with intent to stare blankly at a document and continue to feed confounded temperament whilst my fingers atrophy from my infuriatingly vacant nature and ensuing agony. I’d like to meditate on every paradox and uncertainty to life, yet, under the incalculable weight and ubiquity of the innumerable, I find there’s too many to possess a whit of an idea as to where I ought begin. So many questions, so little time. An endeavor to write about life, such a wide array of colors on the palette. Crushed by too many opportunities – yet another paradox to add to the self-sustaining pile. I imbibe my caffeine and think. I voraciously devour my fingernails (“what flavor you got today?” – Grandpa) while I anxiously tap my feet. I sip some more and think again. Rinse and repeat. An hour will pass. Nothing is written.


The little guy crawling down the wall catches my eye. There is wonder and bewilderment in his eyes (I can’t see his eyes, I just feel their loquacious and inquisitive nature) as he tries to make sense of what’s beneath his little feet. Mr. Ladybug.

 

He operates on pure instinct: sleeps, eats, takes in a joke or two,

gets a daily walk in for some exercise.

And has lots of ladybug sex, of course.

Bred for keeping nature’s order.

Bred for the cycle of life.

Bred for this particular climate, this geographic area.

And that’s it.

Not bred for the Industrial Revolution or the Age of Enlightenment.

Not bred for religion or war.

Not bred for the buildings and vehicles.

Not bred for “America” or “the midwest” or any other

arbitrarily assigned name or invisible boundary made by my species.

Only knows to fly around and laugh with his mates and

eat lots of delicious little aphids.

Were he to fly to the other side of this road

he’d be in a different city.

And that’s probably too bothersome and

busy for his cute little head.

That and that he’s used as a

logo as agencies against violence (“against what?”, he asks).

That and that he’s used as a

universal symbol for good luck (“good what?”, he asks).

That and that he’s probably not

even a “he” even though I’m saying he is (“Did you just assume my ladybug gender?”).

That and that my species refers to

him as a “bug” though he’s technically not (“um….Coleoptera.”).

That and that he, in the miniscule nature of his existence, had to be what made

a big, powerful, intelligent human like myself think deeper about life.

I’d say thanks, but flattery doesn’t benefit his kind. He’s a pragmatist. Too busy thinking:

 

“Get your shit together, humans. Tear down this damn building so we can have a few more trees – more shade, more aphids, more oxygen, more spiders.”

Me: “…sure about that last one, little dude?”

Mr. Ladybug: “Hey, it’s the cycle. It’s order. It’s life. Neither benign nor malicious. It’s bigger than you and I. At least it’s natural. Very little about your species is, anymore.”

 

I’m put in my place. So I embellish my fantasy to make myself feel better. Mr. Ladybug aka “asshole” puffs his cigarette and snickers at me: “God is dead. Nobody is above the ueberladybug. Nobody.” So I crush that little bitch under the heel of my hand. Gone. Ceases to be. Snuffed out of existence forever, not even to exist as a discarded fragment in other Ladybugs’ dreams. “Ueberladybug is dead you pedantic little bitch. Yield to the enormity and impermanence of God.” Mic drop. Akimbo on stage waiting for applause that will not come. Existential humor is lost upon the vapid audience in my head.

 

I brutally snap back to reality. The quaint little guy has no quarrel with me.

He’s still crawling around trying to interpret our unnatural world like a newborn baby.

He tries to make sense of this wooden wall and its hackneyed beige tone.

He tries to make sense of why this coffee shop exists.

And why the coffee costs money (“the hell is that stuff?”).

And why there is money at all.

And why the door is replete with locks.

And why security cameras are covering all possible angles.

And why business owners are cashing in on grounds that once belonged to a different people.

And why those people displaced the people there before them.

And why those people displaced the people there before them.

And why the people sitting and ignorantly sipping their coffee don’t wonder these things.

He tries to make sense of all that is unnatural.

Of why we humans can’t just evenly contribute to the cycle without espousing greed.

“Hey little guy, don’t bother attempting to dissect the lie”, I say with a sigh of mental fatigue’s exasperated cry. “It’s not worth the headache, trust me. Trust. Me. Little man, take me with you into your life.” He does.

 

We snack on the delicious pollen and race the wind and laugh and play.

We fan out our beautiful elytra to make the lovely lady ladybugs go crazy.

He orders me a ladybug beer (it’s free) at the ladybug bar and we jam to some ladybug tunes.

He takes his goofy little buggy arms and gives me a brotherly hug.

“You know what? You’re not grouchy at all, Mr. Ladybug. Tell me again the meaning of life.”

He stares, perplexed. “The meaning of what?”

“…life?”

He laughs and shakes his head. “Why are we still sitting here, human? Let’s fly over to the Grub Hut, there’s deep fried aphids and a live band. The night is young!”

 

I brutally snap back to reality. I am in front of my laptop at the table of the coffee shop staring blankly at a document and feeding my confounded temperament whilst my fingers atrophy from my infuriatingly vacant nature and ensuing agony. I’d like to meditate on every paradox and uncertainty to life, yet, under the incalculable weight and ubiquity of the innumerable, I find there’s too many to possess a whit of an idea as to where I ought begin. So many questions, so little time. An endeavor to write about life, such a wide array of colors on the palette. Crushed by too many opportunities – yet another paradox to add to the self-sustaining pile. I imbibe my caffeine and think. I voraciously devour my fingernails (“what flavor you got today?” – Grandpa) while I anxiously tap my feet. I sip some more and think again. Rinse and repeat. An hour will pass. Nothing is written. The ladybug crawls up the wall – curious, whimsical, excited, puzzled. He is not special, he is not divine, he believes neither in heaven nor hell, yet he is not worried. He’s just doing his thing. I am in front of my laptop. Nothing is written.

Tony Blau Veldt

08/27, 11/27/2016