October 5, 2007

Under Siege

I should take a moment and discuss one of the more terrifying adjustments that my family has had to make during our first weeks in Louisiana. My wife would say that more than anything else, I have been affected by the local intruders, or would be intruders if I were not so diligent in keeping them at bay. At every turn they taunt me and come at me like high school bullies. Every morning when I walk our dog they start with little flybys and jabs. By lunchtime when Annie and I leave for the park they have us surrounded (see proof to right,) and my day of self defense begins.

Invariably I spend my days swatting, feinting, dodging and shouting. If you followed me with a camera I would look like a ne’er-do-well boxer who devised some hair brained training regimen. I justify my bizarre looking evasions by telling myself that I am merely protecting Annie. She comes in handy that way. I now do things in public I would have never dreamed of. The other day, I was singing to her in line at Kroger’s. This from someone who was once asked to stop singing happy birthday at a work party due to my own particular monotone delivery.

My insectile assailants followed us here on our drive through the southern states of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, growing larger and bolder by the state. They left powdery kamikaze remains all over the windshield of my car in their attempts to deter us. Once here, they rallied the locals to try and infiltrate the confines of our apartment. The extra large bottle of raid that we sprayed liberally to create a moat around the outside of the place however, proved too deep to navigate. Eventually, they settled on a well trained brigade of ants taking up residence inside my car. Don’t ask me how they made it inside, maybe their phalanx organized into a large hand and stole the key. I actually had to have an exterminator come and fog my car. Initial insect mission accomplished…depletion of the human’s checking account.

The next week they brought out the big guns via some unprecedented inter-species collaboration. A message had to be sent, and the family dog Zoe was the target. She was outside for a walk with her mom when she spotted an innocent little frog, perched below a willow tree. The frog lightly hopped onto the mossy green surface of our pond (read drainage ditch) behind the house. Zoe, the overzealous canine she is, wanted to get a closer look at her would be play friend, and made her move. Another dog might have stepped gingerly on the unfamiliar surface of the pond, but not Zoe. Nothing less than 110% works for her. The trap was cunningly completed by her excitement. Only a quick leash hand on the part of my wife saved her from a slimy demise. The frog hopped away, defeated, undoubtedly to a tongue-lashing from his slippery boss, and Zoe came home looking like the swamp thing.

Since the canine attack, the bug mob has taken to stealthy, direct attacks on the leader of this pack. A few mornings ago I had a larval dragonfly deftly hanging form the back of my head. He no doubt planned on growing up in my unkempt stay-at-home-dad hairdo, but my wife thwarted his little joyride with a well timed swat. Then, on that very same evening while pumping gas, they stepped up the ante. I figured I had inhaled the fumes while filling up at the local Citgo, because pump number six started to waver in my peripheral vision. After some self analysis, I took a closer look at the pump, realizing that it was literally alive. Alive and crawling with the blackest crickets you will ever see. My next glance took me down to my vulnerable Birkenstocked feet. I was surrounded. As embarrassing as my hopping, triple jump around the back of the car was, it undoubtedly saved my life.

As of this post, I have not yet devised a plan to combat my enemies. I have been sticking and moving for six weeks now and I fear it is hopeless. Unless I begin moonlighting with Orkin, the family and I are destined to an indoor life. We will emerge from our time in Shreveport pale and squinting. I’m just not sure how anyone living here copes with our flying and crawling friends. My neighbor stomps as many as he can, but there aren’t enough feet, it’s messy, and I’m not much for killing things, especially in front of Annie. So, this is my first appeal to the masses. How do ya’ll live in harmony with the bugs of the south?

One last note. I ran into their leader while walking with Annie some time back. He was a quiet brooding fella’, who carried with him the weighty command of a true leader. He was a dark black/green beetle with hooks, or claws. He was about three inches long and walked with a limp. He just stared out of the corner of his eye while I walked past, knowing full well that a standoff this early in the game would be foolish. Someday though, he’ll how his hand and it will be me or him. I can’t live in fear forever.


Blogger Workman said...

I must say I'm surprised to learn that the bug population of the south hasn't completely sucked the life fluids out of all the humans.

When I lived in the region, I'm pretty sure our house was built on an ancient Indian ant burial mound, because they seemed really angry that we were there.

If I were you, I would sleep with a can of raid under my pillow.

I know it's kind of sleazy to leave links back to one's own site when leaving comments, but I had a similar experience as yours, but it's buried so deep in the archives that I doubt you'll ever find it.

Anyway, here's the link:

October 5, 2007 at 5:26 PM  

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