Tag Archives: fear of mosquitoes

Throwing the Book At It

It’s hard to write when you’re flooded with anxiety. Or even wading clumsily through a couple inches of it. If only there was some kind of pump. A mental wet-vac. A mop. Because let me tell you, insurance doesn’t cover it, and to say it’s messy is an understatement.

And it’s not just me. The whole house is on edge. Mike and I, we have our reasons. Unemployment–Mike’s, at present–being a huge one. Money. Dwindling. Savings. Plummeting. Confidence. Tanking.

Get-rich-quick ideas. Burgeoning.

Having said that, I still haven’t sold my wedding dress, or even completed the listing. So much for my little schemes.

Meanwhile, we need new glasses for Mike, repairs for the car, a garbage disposal, school tuition, flea medication. It’s cliche to say that such expenses bloom when it’s least convenient. Such wisdom, however, adds small comfort.

Then there are the insects. Not those around now–although we are having a strange influx of moths, whose corpses are smeared, like little silvery ghosts, on every wall in the house–but future ones. We’ve finally booked our summer trip to parts east, and my anticipatory bug-a-phobia is in full swing. Instead of looking forward with grateful excitement to a journey with stops in New Jersey, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nova Scotia, all I can think is: Deer flies. Ticks. Mosquitos. Repeat. Deer flies. Ticks. Mosquitos. Repeat.

I’ve googled how to prevent Lyme’s disease. Then stayed up ’til midnight learning how incurable it is.

I know. I have to get a grip. People have real problems. These don’t qualify. Much.

Except then there’s the cholesterol. That’s real. I just got diagnosed with high levels. So, supplements have been ordered, milkfats lowered (just shoot me), and desserts basically eradicated. Cheese–my dear friend, confidante, and snack therapist–has been given the boot. We can stay friends, but never again will we sleep in the same bed. And this is something to grieve, as far as I’m concerned. Like, Elizabeth Kubler Ross–the whole thing. I’ve said forever that I wanted to be buried in a block of Cracker Barrel. But no more. Bury me now in a rough case of rice crackers. That’s about all I’ll be eating from this point forward.

So the food thing is a drag. And there’s that mid-life crisis I referred to earlier. It’s still bustling about, wiping both hands on its well-used apron and chuckling as it bustles about the kitchen. You should have heard it snicker when I checked out “Eat to Live” from the library. Cackle, more like it. Fucking asshole. Let it eat oatmeal with chia seeds for breakfast every day. See how peppy it feels.

Finally, there’s MJ. Her anxieties are flowering like peonies at Trader Joe’s. She is worried–continuously–about pooping in the potty. She fretted  when we told her we were going to San Francisco for the weekend, then cried when it was time to come home. She dreaded the fireworks last night. Until she saw them. Then she laughed and clapped her hands like a mental patient. But until that moment? You’d have thought we were dragging her off to a firing squad.

Speaking of which–and I digress–the Eastsider ran a piece today about how to tell the difference between the sounds of firecrackers and those of gunshots. “Oh, good,” I thought. “I’ve always wondered. Now I’ll know.”

Four experts later, the consensus was: there’s no way to tell.

This is life right now. It’ll improve. Or it won’t. Either way, we’ll walk through our fears, large and small, and learn that most of them are unfounded. What choice do we have? To lock ourselves in the house and never emerge, subsisting only on delivered Thai food and bottled water? I’ve considered it. But just think of all that BPA. Plus, Myra-Jean doesn’t like spices.

So out we go into the world, with its bugs, stigmatisms, and unidentifiable explosions.

Myra-Jean makes books when she’s anxious. I’ve talked about it before. This week she’s made four. Every time they’ve worked. She’s been immediately calmed, and able to proceed with whatever it was that was frightening her. It’s a magical tool, and fun, too. If only it were so simple for us grownups.

Maybe it is. Perhaps it’s time to make a few for myself. The first one will be called “Jessica does not want to end up on intravenous antibiotics after being bitten by a deer tick.” The next: “Jessica does not know how to enjoy a plant-based diet.”

From there? The list goes on. And on. And on. The drawings should be fun.

The feelings behind them are not.

More Planes, More Boats, More Automobiles…

And we’re in Rose Bay, Nova Scotia. On the way: no puke, no mishaps, an upgraded flight, even. Thrilled about that. Thrilled to be here. Thrilled with the frantic spray of stars, the damp, soft air, the complete darkness, my mom and step-father’s cozy old farmhouse. Thrilled with all of it.

Or nearly. I’ll be frank: I could do with fewer spiders. But I’m neurotic that way. Still, what does it say about me that the first thing I notice, wherever I go, is which bugs are most prevalent? And that I then waste inordinate amounts of time obsessing about them? In L.A. I avoid — squealing — all dark, retired spots where black widows might lurk. In Martha’s Vineyard I spent so much time checking myself and MJ for ticks that I appeared more ape than human. Here in Rose Bay — where we’ve been coming for decades, mind you — it’s the mosquitos. I’m wacko about them. Having little control over the ever-present hordes outdoors, I make my bedroom a “quarantine zone.” The door is kept always shut, the smallest holes in screens plugged assiduously, and bug checks conducted each time I go in or out. Heaven forfend someone should accidentally leave my door ajar. “That room was sealed!” I’ll yell, eyes wild, spit flying. Then quickly, sheepishly, I’ll apologize for my nuttiness. And retire muttering to my lair, to scan the walls for encroachers.

This summer, however, is supposed to be a “good one” for mosquitoes. This, at least, according to a fisherman my mother spoke to  yesterday. He attributed it to the dry winter. Which sounded plausible, until we got back from the airport and I saw the size of the spiders hanging around the eaves of the house. They’re always there, mind you, but this year they seem not just more plentiful, but massive. There was one outside the back door which looked like it should have its own lighthouse. Dry winter my ass. The mosquitoes are “good” because the spiders are “bad.” And, apparently, on some kind of arachnid growth hormone. Judging by the enormity of those I saw tonight, their webs must be the size of Cirque Du Soleil tents. Nothing that flies is going to stand a chance. Unless maybe it can perform airborne contortions to Beatles covers.

Anyway. I shot a couple of photos of the giant by the back door. They came out terribly. Ansel Adams I’m not. Plus I was getting attacked by moths.

My mom said to clarify that the coin in the second picture is a nickel, not a quarter. “You don’t want to mislead,” she added, with her usual pith.

She’s right, of course. But nickel, quarter, or Susan B. Anthony dollar, that thing is a behemoth. Thank God the bedroom is in full quarantine mode already. What can I say? It’s a summer ritual that works for me. The things I’m keeping out may change, but my fear of encroachment?

Timeless.