This past week it’s been unseasonably warm here in Tallahassee, with highs in the mid-seventies since Tuesday. This made it possible to spend some time at the picnic table in the back yard after work, though not much. It may be warm, but it still gets dark thirty minutes after I get home. That’s okay, I’ll take it.
Let me say that due to previous negative encounters with various members of the insect family, my picnic table-sitting routine involves covering every inch of exposed skin with Cutter Advanced Sport with Picaridin. (I should get some kind of fee for this don’t you think? I mean this is product placement, right?) Picaridin works better than DEET and doesn’t smell medicinal.
But on Tuesday, the first time I’d been able to sit outside in weeks, I was bitten on the side by…something…through my shirt. On Wednesday, it happened again. I’m beginning to think my routine should go like this: Come home. Strip naked. Spray entire body with Cutter Advanced (Fee increases. Second mention). Redress. Go outside. The problem is that by that time daylight would be gone.
On Thursday, I had a routine doctor’s appointment. Once I was naked from the waist up, the conversation went something like this:
Doctor: (Takes involuntary step backwards and points.) What IS that?
Fakename: Oh, you mean that giant red welt on my side the size of a quarter? It’s an insect bite.
Doctor: What on earth WAS it? Was it a mosquito? A spider? A pterodactyl?
Fakename: I doubt it was a mosquito, but look (turns slightly to the right), here’s another one that happened the next day.
Doctor: NURSE! Gloves please!
It turns out that the doctor, while washing his hands three times after examining the bites more closely, said the welts look a lot like the early onset of shingles, which is highly contagious. While I would be a good candidate for shingles (over 50, had chickenpox as a child), I’m not worried in the least.
More likely it will turn out to be the bite of the Southeast Asian Froogamunga beetle, previously thought to be extinct. Deep in hiding, somewhere in the jungle, the last surviving pair raised their little antenna on Tuesday and one said to the other, “Quick, Ethel! Follow me! This is what we’ve been waiting for…Fakename is in her back yard!”