08 March, 2007

the war on insects

Our new abode does not have fly-screens. I'm all for this. The old-style windows are always open when we're home, and they allow for great air-flow (I'm a fresh air fiend, as young Mr Caulfield would say). And for a clich├ęd romantically melancholic pose, you just can't beat sitting at a window-sill, leaning outside and gazing wistfully at the city-scape. Also: the other day when she decided I was taking too long to answer the door, Snaz simply climbed right through our porch window into the kitchen. Exciting!

The downside to the no fly-screens situation is that - just like Snaz - it provides mosquitoes incredibly easy access to our living quarters. In the warm, muggy conditions Melbourne's endured lately, those blood-sucking little pricks just thrive. And apparently they particularly thrive when dipping their filthy little proboscises into my helpless sleeping body. Indeed, it seems drilling my dermis for human-juice is such a delightful occupation, it has become the latest mosquito fad.

This vexes me. It has been a long-held belief of mine that mosquitoes could be utterly wiped from the planet, without any detrimental effect whatsoever. To be more precise, I believe mosquitoes should be utterly wiped from the planet. And if there were detrimental effects, frankly I wouldn't care. It would be worth it. I do not enjoy starting awake at three in the morning to hear the horrendous tiny buzz of mosquitoes (like a microscopic dentist's drill - is there any sound worse?). I do not enjoy rising of a morning to find myself covered in itching pink hives.

As the mosquito problem reached maddening heights, we also encountered an ant problem. Now let it be known that unlike mosquitoes - which I would happily purge and exterminate even from the deepest uninhabited depths of the jungles, merely out of spite - I have no problem with ants as a rule. I'm happy for them to go about their anty business, so long as they stay out of my way. But these fuckers had managed to find their way through the cracks between our floorboards, and had created trails all through our house.
The mosquitoes had already pushed me to the very brink of my Insect Tolerance. This was too much. This was war.

The ant problem would be easy to deal with... and also kind of fun. You see, perverse fuck that I am, I am slightly obsessed with Ant Rid. Ant Rid! It's so delightfully evil! It's like your very own, household WMD. See - you drip the stuff somewhere the ants will find it. It must taste like sweetest ambrosia (or crack) because the stupid little bastards can't get enough of it. They swarm to it. They fight over each other to lap it up. The fools! Oh God, it brings me so much joy to watch them greedily drink up their own destruction! I giggle and feed them extra! Drink, my pretties! Drink! They love it so much they carry it back to the nest with them and share it around! They give it to the Queen! And then a few hours later THEY ALL DIE. Fuckin' awesome.

Alas, the mosquito problem is somewhat more difficult. Citronella candles and mosquito coils are all very well, but I'm not going to sleep with things aflame near the bed, as I have no desire to be identified by my dental records the next morning. Climbing into bed reeking of Aerogard sounds profoundly unsexy. And I'm not prepared to endure the absurdity of netting. Therefore, simple Vigilance is my only weapon.

Since I obviously can't be on the lookout for the blighters while I'm asleep, the time immediately before bed is key. I patrol the outer perimeters of the bedroom with my trusty can of Mortein, knocking out any flying fuckers who might be scouting the room for a later attack. Byron chastises me for this, and says I've become "obsessed" and "paranoid". Nonsense! It should be noted that he isn't bitten nearly as often as I am; clearly he doesn't have tasty blood. I'm sure if he was as itchy and pock-marked as me, he'd be more sympathetic to my perfectly reasonable conviction that They Must All Be Destroyed At Any Cost.

Once I'm in bed, before the light goes out, I am alert but not alarmed, relaxed but ready to strike. Recently, while lying and chatting in bed, Byron suddenly noticed the way my wide, focussed eyes were constantly darting about, circling the ceiling and corners. "Oh my God!" he said, "You're looking for insects to kill, aren't you?" I made sheepish denials. Perhaps I had become a little too intense in my quest to exterminate all insects venturing into the boudoir. Then suddenly, almost as a reflex action, my arms shot out from under the covers, my hands clapping together to pitilessly crush a rogue mosquito whose flight path had foolishly crossed the airspace above me. "DIE CUNT!" I screamed victoriously, flicking its mangled corpse from my palm. Byron's face was genuinely fearful as he looked at me, shaking his head: "You've become a maniac."

Well... yes I must concede that perhaps he has a point. But then I remember that I am covered from head to toe in mosquitoes' itching blemishes of Pure Evil, and I am reassured that my cause is noble and true, and I must not rest until victory is mine.

(Although given both ants and mosquitoes have been around since the dinosaurs called Earth home, I fear my War on Insects is probably about as winnable as the War on Terror. Dang it.)



Blogger lili said...

I am so with you. They. Need. To. Die.

(also, you can force your real estate agent to give you fly screens. it's a health and safety requirement).

March 08, 2007 1:01 pm  
Anonymous Tyson said...

I feel bad for killing insects in a "soooo sorry, but i'll make it up to your cousins by lavishing them with food crumbs" kind of way.

I woke up twice this week to find a spider behind my pillow. Yuck!

I think you should really take advantage of your situation, make lemonade (so to speak), by hanging up the big tent netting over your bed and playing quiet and distant tribal music and get down to some jungle lovin'.

March 08, 2007 5:19 pm  
Blogger mindlessmunkey said...

lili - I knew I could count on you as part of my Willing Alliance. I guess we could insist on fly-screens, but that feels like surrender somehow.

Tyson - Spiders should not be behind pillows, nor anywhere near the bed. A white-tail once crawled up my leg in bed - yes, UNDER the covers. I have never really recovered (though neither did the white-tail, since it received a hefty blow from a copy of James Joyce's Ulysses which happened to be close at hand).

I'm not sure about the jungle drums idea... on the weekend we did finally try the mosquito coil option, which provided a deeply sensual "fire in a plastics factory" atmosphere to the evening.

March 14, 2007 9:40 am  

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