It’s 75 degrees at 4am. Wind gusts: 0. Humidity: 100%.
Bugs of all shapes and sizes, are breeding like mad and crawling everywhere. In this moment, one flits to land and tickle my leg as I type.
I’ve been up since 2am this morning, when I awoke to the Bohemian calmly exiting the bed and turning on a low light.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Centipede, I think.”
“You got bit?”
“Yeah. On the foot.”
I encourage him to go doctor his bite. He takes a flashlight into the noni orchard for some fresh fruit to hold on the spot.
I begin to tentatively remove pillows and sheets from the bed, hoping to uncover the culprit.
These situations are never easy. Centipedes move fast, and if you don’t catch them, they’ll slip into some hiding place you can’t access. Then you’re left to cohabit, never knowing when they may slither out again.
After careful removal of all bedding, there is no centipede in sight, even after lifting up the mattress.
The Bohemian’s bite seems minor, and with the aid of the noni fruit, he recovers quickly. Though we know the centipede must be somewhere around, we are left with no choice but to return to the bed. The Bohemian drifts back to dreamland, but I’m wide awake and sweating. The ceiling fan is on maximum, I’m using no covers, but it’s still too hot.
The only middle-of-the-night sounds coming from the black beyond our screens, are those of the crickets. Not a leaf rustles. There is no breeze to lift them.
I pull out Natalie Goldberg’s “Thunder & Lightning,” and try to read by book lamp. Half-way through the first page, the gnats have found me. They flit about the mini-light, then recoil to land on my arms and face. Now I’m swatting, irritated, and can’t sleep.
Maybe these bugs have always been here, but never in such numbers. The current damp and humid weather has been a perfect petri dish to proliferate the creepy crawlies. I’ve spied cockroaches, lately, with a half-inch clearance beneath their broad bodies, casually cruising across the floor. They don’t even scurry in the presence of humans. I’ve stood there, dumbfounded at their size and audacity, and it’s as if they’re looking back at me and saying, “What?”
And then the ants! They stream in long lines, sourcing from the smallest crevices. Places I never knew about, tucked behind the coffee grinder, or from underneath the stove top. Multiple varieties make the pilgrimage, seeking different things. Some like water, and gather by the sink. Others prefer sweet, and swarm the honey jar. Still another varietal mobs a solitary breadcrumb that’s fallen from Jeb’s dinner plate.
The natural pest control spray has practically become a new appendage, as I’m constantly aiming to squirt corners, floorboards, and counter tops with the essence of rosemary, thyme and peppermint. But the insects, they simply scoff.
If you’re a bug, this is the life! Not a breeze to ruffle your wings. Copulation aplenty, birth control, not necessary. The air is thick with a moisture, ready to accommodate the smallest of lifeforms.
Just give me some wind, already. A little refresher. If I’m in paradise, why is it so uncomfortable? Forget the land of the endless summer. Right now, I’m longing for a winter. A good long, cold one, that will sanitize this place in the way that only nature can do. Let it all freeze. Hit the reset button. Have a rest. At least temporarily.
I’m talking seasons. I’ve never missed them so much before.
But no, I’m in the tropics, and the climate here stays warm.
And right now, I’m just bugged out.