One of the many pleasant things about life in Southern California is that we have very few mosquitos. I assume that this is due to the energetic efforts of the people who are working hard to exterminate them and if you write to me I will thank you personally. Then get back to work.
In fact, we are so flawless here that often when people travel, people get a positive problem and find themselves in a place where there are actually insects. You know what I mean. You’ve never lived until you woke up in a hotel room after drinking four daiquiris from a friend who was standing on the bed screaming because a cockroach was on the floor. I just sigh and then roll back to sleep because when we lived in Puerto Rico, roaches were our pets.
OK, I’m lying, they weren’t actually our pets, but we got used to them because they were ubiquitous and gigantic. My late mother, who had won the world competition for decent freaks three years in a row, could not even drive her completely out of our house despite countless hours of trying. That’s one reason we liked the lizards that occasionally ran along our walls because they were harmless and ate the beetles.
We also got our white flour by ship, which meant it contained weevils when it circled the globe and eventually reached our air force base in Puerto Rico. I imagine they have a better system now, but we’ve just gotten used to pulling the weevils out of the flour and then using it anyway. I know you make a face, but being a military family takes sacrifice. And as my father always said, they don’t eat much.
Let’s just say I’m not afraid of mistakes and not very patient for other vacationers who experience a nuclear breakdown every time they see one. I was lying by the pool in our tiny, humble little resort in Costa Rica and suddenly heard bloody screams above me. Like one of the horror films, I refuse to watch it.
I went back to my book and then realized oh crap. These screams come from our cabana. So I jumped up and threw myself uphill to our shelter as fast as my plump, aging legs would carry me (let’s just say a sloth was there in front of me) and ran inside, expecting to find my daughter Curly Girl, that was attacked by a slasher.
In fact, at the sight of an incredibly large Costa Rican spider that her friend had already smashed, she yelled, much to my disappointment, because I would have liked to see it and also because we should have just caught it and put it outside.
If I find unwanted wildlife in my home, I prefer to move them rather than kill them, with a few exceptions. Ants, for example. I recently bragged about walking without an ant invasion all summer, and God heard me because he (or she, depending on how you feel) sent me an entire battalion last week. They have taken over and built timeshare resorts in my kitchen and bathroom, and so far I haven’t won the war against them.
Mosquitoes just have to die. Thankfully, they don’t like me that much, but they absolutely devour my son, Cheetah Boy. That’s why I always enjoy being with him when we’re outside, because they cling to him and leave me alone. I eat a lot of garlic, maybe that’s why. But I’m pretty sure the entire mosquito community has a chat room dedicated to my son with specific instructions on how to find him anywhere in the world.
I know if you ask a biologist you will learn why mosquitoes are important to our ecosystem, but I don’t care. You just have to go.
There’s a joke that the mosquito is the Alaska state bird and I can vouch for it because we’ve never seen such giant blood-sucking creatures in our lives. We still loved our two visits there and hope to come back. With a lot of DEET.
I remember visiting a friend in St. Louis and admiring the beautiful, leafy, park-like backyards in her neighborhood and wondering why no one was enjoying them. Well I discovered as soon as I opened the back door and was immediately approached by an army of flying, buzzing, and biting things. Eeek. I wasn’t sad to come home.
So if you are wondering why I have traveled a lot with my son he helps me carry my bags. And he is the Designated Mosquito Receiver.