My new bug friend. Not sure where he ended up but I hope he’s recovered from his ride. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson column: Perseverance pays off on the street and on the track

I was driving back to Duncan from an assignment in Mill Bay earlier this week and just south of Cobble Hill I noticed that I was joined on my journey by a tiny little bug on my windshield. I don’t know exactly when it got there but periodically along my drive I looked up just a few inches from my eye level to see if it was still hitching a ride.

Now, I don’t know a lot about this kind of thing but I have got to assume that travelling 90 kilometres per hour down the highway would be traumatic at the very least for the tiny creature. I mean, even if it had suction cup feet thingys and wings, it would still be a wild ride. Letting go and gracefully flying away doesn’t seem like an option. Getting blown off, hurtling through the air and violently splatting onto the bumper of the vehicle behind seems a more likely scenario.

I was impressed at the sheer tenacity of the poor creature to hang on for dear life at highway speeds. To make matters worse (or so I would assume) every time I stopped at a red light and checked on my new friend, I watched the bug gather itself, take a few steps, and try to open its wings in preparation for flight…only to have to hunker back down when the light turned green and I hit the gas again.

But hold on the little creature did!

I parted ways with my travel companion soon after I parked in downtown Duncan. But not before I took a photo.

It seems a little odd to write 270 words on the stick-to-it-ness of a bug on my windshield, but it reminded me of a video I watched earlier in the day and the similarities couldn’t help but make me smile.

My sister sent me a video of my 12-year-old niece at her school’s regional track meet over on the Lower Mainland. She was running in the final of the 200m race and she had gotten set well before the gun went off.

“She’s ready too soon. The gun will surprise her and she’s going to have an awkward start,” I thought to myself, worriedly. (Because you know, in addition to my extensive entomology knowledge, I’m also an expert in grammar school track and field strategy.)

I was more surprised than my niece when the gun signaled the start of the race but I was right! She didn’t have the best first burst. She went into the turn fifth of seven equally gawky sixth graders, arms flailing side to side and form not yet mastered.

But, like my new bug friend, she was tenacious. She held on despite the epic speeds. My niece hustled around the turn, passing three runners to hit home stretch in second. But the leader was a half dozen strides ahead. Through sheer determination, my niece caught up and then surpassed the front-runner in the last few metres to eke out the victory.

I recognize the survival stakes weren’t as high for my niece as they were for the bug on my windshield, but the persistence they both showed made me oddly proud. (Well, odd in the case of the bug, not so much with my niece.) The moral of the story? However bumpy the ride, sometimes a little perseverance can get you where you want to be. But I’ll be honest; in both cases, I’m grateful they didn’t blow away and into the bumper of a passing car.

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