They’re coming. Every other day, it seems, there’s a news box on Google about the impending descent of the II Brood of cicadas, those huge bugs with the bulging red eyes that emerge every 13 or 17 years, depending on where you live, to mate like maniacs, replenish their high-pitch shrieking population, and wreak all kinds of terror on humankind. Specifically me.
No, it hasn’t been 17 years yet since we endured their horrifyingly disgusting presence. When we survived the last go-round in 2004, no one was splitting hairs about the possibility of different iterations of those big ol’ nasty things. But we probably should have, because that was Brood X, not expected to intrude again until 2021.
Meanwhile, Brood II has been percolating underfoot and once the ground warms to a consistent 64 degrees, they’ll creep up and out and all over the place, and rob entomophobiacs of 3-4 weeks of their summer.
Scientists project they’ll outnumber humans 600-to-1. Six-hundred to one. Six-zero-zero to one. And there could be as many as a trillion of them blanketing the Mid-Atlantic in shovel-able proportions. Raid can’t do a hot damn thing to save us.
Naturally, because a mere walk to the car is rife with trepidation, I’ve done some initial research to prepare to live the life of a hermit for the next month or so. (PeaPod, you’re about to score yourself a new customer!) As such, Girl Child has been fairly warned that the first half of her summer is probably going to suck, not only because the cicadas will be cramping her style, but because her main source of money and transportation—which is me, her mama—will refuse to go out for the usual accoutrements of warm weather fun:
1. No trips to Rita’s. If I’m planning to get my groceries delivered, there’s no way I’m setting foot outside for frozen custard delights. No ma’am.
2. No rides to school. The one year she putzed around with her math grade and landed herself in summer school is the same year the satan spawn of the insect world scheduled their comeback. That’s an added consequence. Nothing I can do for her either way. (Insert my hefty shoulder shrug.)
3. No amusement parks. Puh-lease. Who wants to be speeding down a roller coaster hill only to have a cicada splat on their face at 20 mph? Better yet, who wants to pay darn near $60 to get into a park and be pelted by near-blind bugs the size of baby carrots?
4. No barbecues. Unless I can wheel a grill inside and light the charcoal without setting the whole building on fire—which feels like a definite no—she’ll have to settle for Foreman burgers instead of cookout food for a while.
5. And lastly, no sleepovers. If you initiate a girls’ night in, it’s only right you be the one to shuttle a carload of invited guests from their home to your home and back again the next day. That means unnecessary trips into the wilderness and that, for now, is too much for my wilting soul to handle.
I can’t say I’m scared of too much—I’ve dodged bullets in the streets, killed mutant roaches in the city, and one or two black snakes in the country where my grandparents live—but cicadas? I am terr-o-fied. I won’t hesitate to mow over a toddler taking wobbly steps or an elderly war vet in a wheelchair to get inside to safety. I’m sorry in advance.
Are you cowering because of or celebrating the return of the cicadas?
Image via borazivkovic/Flickr