Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vampires Among Us



The first mosquito was annoying. It wasn't until I slapped the second, a minute or two later, that I was flooded with panic. It hit me like that white flash of shock you get when you've only popped into the store for some cigarettes and maybe one game of video poker and suddenly a few hours later you remember you've left the kids in the car with the windows rolled up and a case of Ho-Hos and a little bottle of something to help you get some sleep. Pure dread.

I ran around the place looking for my strong, lean, brave man but when I found him it was too late. He was already slumped over, whimpering, drained, anemic, and a little pudgy. The pudge was due to a uniform layer of fused welts swelling his body a half inch in every direction. "I'm gonna die," he said.

He doesn't scare easily. This is the guy who maintained for years that "anybody can quit smoking. It takes a man to face lung cancer."

Mosquitoes adore Dave. They plan their holidays around him. When they're done with him they all go off and lie down, patting their bellies and burping and maybe watching a little football. For years we have employed him at barbecues to stand a little off to the side and draw mosquitoes. They'd be ecstatic. We'd hear them yelling "wheeeeeeee-oooooo" with the Doppler effect kicking in as they zoomed overhead. If we brought him enough hot dogs he'd stand over there all afternoon and smack himself like a masochist with Tourette's.

One time, in Maine, my sister and Dave and I walked through a mosquito-drenched forest to get to the beach (this is him on said beach with his socks stylishly pulled up as far as they will go to cut down on exposed skin). We expected the beach to be windy enough to repel mosquitoes and it was, except not these mosquitoes. Dave bailed out in fear when he got to the water and discovered they were still there. He ran a mile back to the car, shut himself and a few hundred mosquitoes inside and maniacally slapped the living crap out of every surface in it. Anyone happening upon the scene would have been concerned enough to call the authorities, after first pulling back a few miles.

We're not supposed to have mosquitoes in Portland. Screen porches are unknown. We only keep screens on a couple of windows to keep the cat in. Even Dave gets no more than a bite a night at worst, from the single mosquito in a mile radius. But suddenly this year we have mosquitoes, and their arrival coincided with the temperatures rising to near a thousand degrees, and at night we left a couple windows open a crack, leaving all the lights off. Dave woke up with a mosquito biting his lip, which swelled enormously. He looked like Angelina Jolie with a beard, which is surprisingly attractive. "What more can I do?" he wailed, and other than trying it again the next night with his pants off, I couldn't think of a thing.

The reason we have mosquitoes this year is the record-breaking rains we had in May and June, brought to us by the same folks that brought unseasonal snow, monster hurricanes and successive hundred-year floods. Mainly people like James "Global Warming Is A Hoax" Inhofe, who also doesn't think much of universal health care. If Dave ever gets out of the ICU, that's who I'm sending the bill to.

34 comments:

  1. Oh my... I am wiping away the tears of laugher! Poor Dave.

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  2. "leaving his pants off..."Oh my God, I am laughing so hard...poor Dave indeed.

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  3. I'm the mosquito magnet in my family. 'Tain't funny, McGee. Although I never had one bite me on the lip... Poor Dave. He must be an awfully good sport to allow you to post that picture.

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  4. I'm on Team Dave here. I'm a mosquito magnet. Now that we have the Asian tiger mosquito, life in summer is hell all the livelong day.

    We visited Assateague National Seashore once - a popular spot for people to visit on vacation around here - and were assaulted by man-eating, shark-like mosquitoes which literally chased us back to and into our car. For the past decade, I sit in puzzlement as people describe their wonderful day trips (and camping trips, even) to Assateague. "But what about the mosquitoes?" I ask. "Mosquitoes?" they say, puzzled, as if I were asking if they had encountered the head-shrinking cannibal pygmies on the island.

    It happened - I know it happened. We have the blood stains from the smooshed insect corpses on the interior of our car to prove it.

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  5. As a native Minnesotan (where the mosquito is the state bird), I feel Dave's pain. When I moved to the DC area in 1982, one BIG bonus was that there were NO mosquitoes!!! I don't know when it happened but by the end of the 80's we had 'em. Now, we have the dreaded Tiger mosquito that will literally hunt you down. Some days I have to make a mad dash from my car to my house and I STILL get eaten. Add mosquitoes to the horrible heat and humidity and I ask people--Why the Heck does everyone look forward to summer??!!

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  6. In addition to the bazillion mosquitoes, it's deer and horse fly season here in northern Minnesota. I'll take a mosquito over a horse fly any day. Horse flies land on exposed skin CHEWING!

    Quoting Wikipedia:

    "The bite from a large specimen is painful, especially considering the agile nature of the fly. Unlike insects which surreptitiously puncture the skin with needle-like organs, horse flies have tiny, serrated mandibles which they use to rip and/or slice flesh apart."

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  7. My husband Dave is on Team Dave, too. I don't need insect repellent if he is around, they all do the happy dance and head right on over and leave me alone

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  8. Elizabeth BrewsterJuly 14, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    I was just imagining a giant prehistoric mosquito the size of a teradactyl and a prehistoric cave man Dave hunting it with a bow and arrow as it tried to feed off of him and Dave takes it down with a manly shot through its giant mosquito heart and then does a victory dance as he moves on to eradicate giant mosquitoes from the face of the earth...uhhh...yeah, too much time on my hands, lol

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  9. They love me. I attract them from miles around. It's been so hot, I haven't been out much the past two weeks. Maybe that's why I don't have my usual ten bites on each leg.

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  10. I am laughing so hard on "Leaving his pants off".. I have to spray a half a bottle of Deep Woods Off on me each time I go outside. I wonder how toxic that is... lol

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  11. I empathize with poor Dave. We always get the nasty little buzzers around here (south western Ontario, Canada) but they are particularly vile and plentiful this year. I too seem to be the equivalent of kobe beef for the dreaded pests and I have numerous welts to show for it. All this after wearing long sleeves, long pants and enough bug spray to kill an army....hand in there Dave! P.S. I'm littleorangeguy's cousin.

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  12. Good lord! Your poor husband. My daughter is a mosquito magnet too. We often joke that there must be a flashing neon sign above her head that reads "Bug buffet...Open". We have found that Bounce dryer sheets help (carry one in your pocket) and this year she found that her new perfume will repel them (and me). But I highly doubt Dave wants to wear anything with the name Paris Hilton attached to it.

    ♥Spot

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  13. Hilarious. Makes the welt on my white butt from an attack during Tuesday's weeding session here in one-gagillion percent humidity CT seem positively uneventful.

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  14. I've never seen mosquito bites swell so big. Well at least now we know Angelina's secret. Hey, maybe you can bottle 'em up and send 'em over to Inhofe's office. You could make another package for our TX governor Perry. We hear he's thinking about running for president.

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  15. Last summer in Malaysia we visited a firefly forest along a river. I sprayed and had bounce sheets rubbed all over me, as well as stuffing sheets in my bra, unders, shoes, pockets and nary a bite... but I was the only one out of the hundreds there who sweat so much, I looked like a drowned rat...

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  16. Not funny. I have never seen mosquito bites on the lip, or mosquito bites that large. What if they'd flown into his mouth and plugged his throat? The poor man.

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  17. How do you SCRATCH your lips?

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  18. I went camping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta years ago. Hot days on the canals in an open boat. Sundown we camped on a levee, the mosquitoes came out in waves. We retreated to our sleeping bags in which we were literally roasting in the warm delta night. But to breathe we had to put our mouths in the opening of the cinched up sleeping bag. The bugs attacked our mouth and lips, I had bites inside my mouth and swallowed countless more. It was hell.

    We had planned on being out there two nights... instead we headed for home at daybreak.

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  19. Poor Dave. I didn't even know that mosquitoes hung out on beaches!

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  20. My BIL is almost immune. He can walk in the swarming woods with impunity. His wife, my SIL, attracts them form miles away on a cold, windy day in January. Well almost.

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  21. It's a different beast but I'm sure Dave can relate: black fly. It's also a classic Canadian folk song and National Film Board vignette:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyRshnwExPU

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  22. Where can you get that hat with the mosquito netting? I even have a bite on my eyelid!

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  23. Poor Dave. I do sympathize as the skeeters like me very much. Nice to know I'm not their only favorite flavor...

    So what do your skeeters look like? Are they the tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus)? We used to only have these big brown skeeters that you could hear coming from miles away. Now they have almost been entirely replaced by Aedes albopictus and they are just too small, too fast and too silent!

    Suburban Correspondent; I found that the beaches at Assateague were mostly just haunted by voracious horseflies. The skeeters hung out in the bushes or the bay side. I learned to my horror that the signs that say "STAY ON THE TRAIL!" are actually skeeter warnings. I was almost carried away by a cloud that assaulted me when I left the trail.

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  24. Oh yeah, head nets! You might want to check out a camping supply store, Bioquip or a field research supply site. I have two of them that I use when working in salt marshes. Very effective!

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  25. Gee, I go away for a couple days and look what happens. First, I do not intend to divulge what Dave scratches his lip on. It's not that kind of blog. And Asian Tiger Mosquito? Holy cow. I don't think we have those here, but I don't know what we do have, Bruce. I'll try to reconstruct one of the flattened ones on Dave and get back to you. Littleorangeguy and cousin, we know black flies too. Not from here, but from Maine. Honestly, if my sister hadn't been the greatest person on earth, we might never have visited Maine in the summertime.

    I think Dave would wear Paris Hilton herself if that would help. Wait a minute; bad visual there.

    We just got back from Mt. Hood, where we did a nice ten-mile hike straight uphill, sunny and seventy degrees, light breeze, no bugs at all. I guess we won't be moving.

    Lips have breasts! Is that like a bust in the mouth?

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  26. It's elementary my dear, WATKINS! The only repellent that we here in mosquito land swear by and would likely all look like Dave by now without!
    It's one of those Amway type products, and if you google it, I'm sure you'll find a rep nearby...they tend to be everywhere on earth...

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  27. Ingesting about a half cup of a stout tonic of equal parts apple-cider vinegar, molasses and sulphur will do the trick. Also, eat a lot of sourdough, every day if possible. Bugs of all kinds, especially skeeters, will veer away from you. So will many of your friends, but that's always the trade-off. But seriously, I am not kidding. An old-timer told me this and it really works! Look for powdered sulphur in a health-food store.

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  28. Murr:

    I have found that Ben-Gay is a very effective mosquito repellent. It also reduces the itch and brings down the swelling pretty quick. But obviously you can't apply it everywhere!

    Fantastic window cleaner will also work when sprayed on exposed skin, but needs to be kept moist. It also works great for shooting the little sobs out of the air.

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  29. I live on a lavender farm. Lavender is a natural insect repellent. Get some organic lavender oil or a lavender mist at a good health food store. Poor Dave...

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  30. Another member of mosquito magnet team Dave weighing.
    I am frequently the ONLY one bit.
    I understand there are two factors--being thin-skinned. No really...skin that is easier to puncture.
    And the amount of CO2 you breathe out. Those of us with "sweeter" breath attract more mosquitos.
    Sigh.

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  31. Oh, yes, Dave has delicate, translucent, blemish-free silky skin. Everything else is manly as hell.

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  32. It's a different beast but I'm sure Dave can relate: black fly. It's also a classic Canadian folk song and National Film Board vignette:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyRshnwExPU

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  33. Elizabeth BrewsterApril 5, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    I was just imagining a giant prehistoric mosquito the size of a teradactyl and a prehistoric cave man Dave hunting it with a bow and arrow as it tried to feed off of him and Dave takes it down with a manly shot through its giant mosquito heart and then does a victory dance as he moves on to eradicate giant mosquitoes from the face of the earth...uhhh...yeah, too much time on my hands, lol

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