Speaking of summertime…
One of the main reasons that I am a homebody, particularly during the summer months is because I’m too attractive.
I don’t mean I’m Kim K “attractive”. I mean, despite pretty much being stripped of all make-up and fragrant perfume products, I’m still extremely attractive…
I live in a beautiful mountainous region. I should be out hiking and enjoying the area, like a true native. There are plenty of places to go where very few people congregate, so it’s not people that keep me indoors. It’s the bugs.
This is my main summer pet-peeve. The heat is bearable compared to the unbearable coexisting with the bugs that love me so much.
If there is a biting or stinging bug that exists, short of a tick (knock wood), I have been attacked by it. Bees, wasps, mosquitoes, ants, spiders (even chiggers, in Nebraska). They all have had a taste of me. If they are in the neighborhood, they find me and follow me.
When I was younger I used to freak-the-f%$k-out, and that would increase the chance that I would be attacked. Over my forty-something years I have learned to not act so deranged when coming into contact with summer bugs, but I still get heavily anxious. I cry under my breath, while I’m trying to hold it, in hopes that the approaching bugs will decide I’m not such a tasty meal. If I don’t have to, I don’t walk anywhere alone. I have my partner meet me at the bus stop, when he can, so that he can help me play keep away with any bugs that I meet.
Because the weather is so warm, you would think that walking home from work, when I live so close, would be a no-brainer, but because my neighbors rarely cut back their foliage, on a regular basis, and the bugs love playing around in all that green splendor, it makes for very unpleasant adventures when I have to literally tip-toe to get home, to avoid drawing too much bug-infested attention to myself. I don’t mind walking, but I want my walks to be enjoyable, so long as the bugs are in full summer force, I’ll be forced to take public transportation until bug season is over.
Last year, there was a nest of yellow-jackets living in the roof of the building where I work and the automatic sliding door was extremely sensitive, allowing them into the building whenever they would buzz by. I spent the entire summer with a broom and a fly swatter, not to kill them, but to make sure that I always created a breeze around me so that they would stay away. I swear I spent as much time chasing away these things as I did my actual work. I was relieved when autumn finally came. Thankfully, it appears that the owners of the building where I work took care of the old nest, so I’m no longer fighting them off with a stick for hours at a time. Our new problem, in the whole neighborhood, is grasshoppers. They are everywhere. And, yes, I get attacked by them, too.
I do try to remember to use placebos on myself to keep me calm around bugs, like carrying dryer sheets in my pockets (and even inside my hats) because, apparently, bugs don’t like certain chemicals found in dryer sheets. I have had some success keeping them away from me, but I get so busy sometimes, and forget to get fresh ones. The trick doesn’t seem to work if the dryer sheet is more than 24 hours old.
I don’t like wearing bug spray, not just because of the chemicals on my skin, the smell, or the greasy feeling, but because I’m concerned that the chemicals from the sprays will contaminate the work that I do and I don’t think that my customers would appreciate that. I’ve tried essential oils and other “natural” cures, but they don’t work very well to keep the bugs at bay, either.
It is so hard to reconcile my love of nature with my disdain for bugs. I know they usually have a purpose that perpetuates the same nature that I enjoy indulging in its viewing, but my sanity is far more important to me than taking in the colorful sights.