I believe I may have been a frog in a past life. The trouble with having been another species in a former life is that somehow certain behaviors leach over in to this life but often without the corresponding acumen that made them effective as that other species.
While that may not be an example of effectivity, it does underscore a certain skill. I too, it turns out, have great skill at catching insects on my tongue. I do it on the bike rather than a lily pad. I seem to be able to catch them much more frequently than anyone with whom I ride. However, just like the frog in the video, it doesn't work out that good for me. Oh sure, extra hands-free nutrition, blah, blah; still not working for me, but no big deal.
Until last Thursday.
After a week of hellacious heat and soggy humidity, Thursday was a delightful day with lower temp and lower dewpoint. I rode home gulping in the fresh crisp air as I warmed up and got ready for some good old hammer time knowing that I wouldn't be risking death by heatstroke. It just as I was soaking in the pleasure of the wind in my face and the tarmac shooting beneath my wheels that I made another fine catch.
Having considerable experience bug catching, I can tell in an instant what I've caught and how to process my bounty. A gnat might not even generate a spit since it's diminutive size makes it nearly impossible to find and so what anyway. A mosquito will generate an ejection spit, a fly a spit and a cough, etc. I have a protocol and I follow it automatically; pure motor response, no thought required.
It works best that way.
In this case I made the mistake of pausing just long enough for a 'what the?' thought as my catch was in a new class that seemed to fill my mouth and it had scored a bullseye on the back of my throat. Lovely. Action then followed using an enhanced fly protocol in hopes of hastening the ejection process but somehow it
Wasn't... going... anywhere...
About ten minutes later, or 1/4 high-cadence turn of the crank, I had successfully completed the maneuver, released my catch and entered the assessment phase. Assessment is optional and usually involves a bit of chuckling and banter with whomever witnessed my catch and release. As in the catch phase, I paused and pondered the pain in the back of my throat. I wasn't going that fast, 20mph (31kph for those so inclined) tops so I postulated that my catch must have had equal and opposite velocity and the impact had bruised my uvula.
I was thinking best case while thinking I was thinking worst case.
Though my mouth was now clear, I invollantarily entered another round of the enhanced fly protocol; spit, cough plus gag just to finish with panache. It was becoming clear that I was in new territory as the pain was ramping up just like when you smack your thumb with a hammer and in the slow motion raising of the hammer off your thumb, the pain wells up like a tsunami as your mind begins to assess what just happened.
My assessment was coming around to the fact that I had just been stung on my uvula by a bee, wasp or cruise missile and had a situation that required more than spitting, coughing and gagging. I know people who are so allergic to bee stings that they carry an epipen to prevent anaphylactic shock in the case of a sting, my sister being one of those people.
So now I am thinking I have escaped heatstroke only to die from a uvular bee sting as I feel my throat start to swell. Though I commute across a major metropolitan area, this part of my commute is pretty isolated and it could be many minutes until someone comes along by which time I will just be a corpse at the side of the road. Oddly enough, this section of road along the river bluff is where the local municipality dumps dead deer carcasses so the stench of my decay won't even stand out.
Knowing outside help is unlikely, I decide it's time to really hammer and start thinking about where the nearest location where I can get some Benadryl. As I ride I realize that the swelling isn't really increasing although the pain most certainly is and that I will likely survive the ordeal.
So it's all turned out OK but I have a deep empathy for Babs and will think about looking up a uvula specialist as mine is still at least twice it's normal size and not at all happy.