I had just begun to give my lecture (Waves & Fluids: a masterfully prepared presentation) when I felt something hit my skin just inside the neck of my top.
Was it my hair? Having decided that a short styled cut was too risky when you only know two appropriate adjectives ("short" and "long"), I had allowed my hair to grow so that it now curled around my shoulders. It was possible that a strand had tumbled inside my neckline and the long years of having it cropped close to my head had caused me to forget what that felt like.
... but I suspected I would remember that it felt like a mammoth cockroach on moving day.
Unfortunately, once the thought "mammoth cockroach" had invaded my brain it was rather hard to concentrate. I stopped mid-sentence and stared at the slide on the projector. It was a summary slide of last week's lecture. A week... would my bra be home to a whole town of mutantly large cockroaches in another week?
(I should add at this point that since I shower everyday --without clothes-- this was not a likely scenario. I would also not put clothes back on that had been adopted by any other visible life-form. But lecturing is a difficult time to think logically.)
"A wave," I began again. "Transmits energy, but not matter."
Then I felt something move.
My most natural instinct at this point was to peel off every single one of my clothes right there and then in front of my class of (predominantly male) students. I resisted. Just.
"Excuse me," I said brightly. "I'm being attacked by a bug." And I departed the lecture room at a brisk trot.
Fortunately, the bathrooms in the building were almost directly opposite where my class was being held. Diving in, I pulled out the neck of my tee-shirt, preparing to lose all my clothes at a moments notice and flush them down the toilet.
While that might have brightened up my courses assessment sheets in a couple of weeks time, it is perhaps fortunate that what I saw was a rather spiky caterpillar clinging to the inside of the fabric.
It was actually quite cute, but it still wasn't staying. Peeling it off my clothing, I escorted it off the premises by dropping it out the window. Then I straightened my outfit and returned to the lecture theatre.
"… as I was saying," I said as I swept back up to the podium. "If the oscillation is simple harmonic motion, where the force is proportional to the displacement…"
Keep calm and carry on. Wartime. Bug attacks. The applications are endless.