Saturday, July 08, 2006
Bitten by the bug
When OmegaMom looks back at her yout' in the Midwest, it is draped in a hazy fog of reminiscence. Lilacs bloom and wave and pour their scent into the air. Family gathers at Grandma's house on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and cheery voices ring out with family solidarity. The city is vibrant and exciting, charged with electricity. The sun is shining. The wind is light. We're always wandering through parks, or basking at the beach (where the lake water is [har har] temperate and pleasant to swim in), or traipsing through festivals at the park, or we're canoeing down streams or hiking through dappled woods dotted with wildflowers. Every once in a while, there's a fond reminiscence of real storms, the kind that build up for days, with heavy humid air growing heavier and more humid by the minute, and huge ominous clouds billowing overhead, until the Cold Front moves through, the wind suddenly tosses 100-year-old elms and maples like children's jacks, and the temperature drops 25 degrees in minutes. But there's something very significant missing from this sentimental mishmash of memories. Mosquitoes. Gnats. ROACHES. (Shudder) Black flies. A whole litany of creepy crawly things, ew, yech. But mostly, I forget the biting bugs that would leave me a mass of blotchy red bite bumps from head to foot. Oh, there are some biting bugs hereabouts, but mostly we don't encounter them here in Hippy Dippy Enclave in the Woods. They're rather rare in the entire region. But if you go hang out on a bluff above a lake in the dusky dark to watch fireworks... You'll get mosquitoes. Big, mean suckers. The kind that are portrayed in kids' cartoons as dive-bombing airplanes from WWII. Lots of them. HUNGRY mosquitoes. They didn't bother OmegaDad. They bit OmegaDotter a few times; she has some cute little red bumps here and there on her legs, but they no longer bother her. I, on the other hand, am a mass of bites all over my calves. Big, red, blotchy, itchy bites. AAARRRGGGHHHH! It's unfair. You would think that, with the changes in my body chemistry that have taken place within the past few years, the pheromonal lure that leads the buggers on would have disappeared, and left me, too, relatively immune. Nope. Nosirree. Here it is, four days later, and I constantly find myself scratching like a flea-bitten dawg, intensely, mindlessly...itchily. From experience, I know that these narsty bites will linger on for two weeks. The only saving grace here is that, unlike in the Midwest, there won't be an ongoing assault, so once they're gone, they're gone.