Image source here.
Of all creatures living on this earth, none is more deserving of hatred than mosquitoes. With their buzzing in your ear and biting into your vein, no wonder a small feeling of victory follows when you’ve successfully slapped them dead: you have just saved humanity one or more mosquito bites.
I am dessert for mosquitoes. My blood is like sweet, creamy tiramisu that they smoothly swallow without chewing. I worked in the garden once—not that I do it often—and covered myself in eucalyptus bug spray. Not the best smelling stuff. But I made the mistake of only spraying my exposed skin. Five minutes later, I got 2 bites through my legging. I mean, seriously?!
The most annoying part about revenge, the you-eat-me-I-kill-you philosophy, is the irreversibility of the bites. I still suffer for an extended amount of time whether the vampire lives or not.
Further, notwithstanding the ease of annihilating a mosquito that’s drunk with blood, acting upon it would literally result in blood on my hands. My own blood, probably. I’d still do it, but what a waste of blood…
Growing up in Indonesia, the land where mosquitoes abound, means cohabitating with mosquitoes. In my house, it’s hard to isolate the living rooms from mosquitoes since they are exposed to the outside one way or another. Bedrooms are sanctuaries—we try very hard to keep them out. This means that doors are always closed and we enter/exit the rooms as swiftly as possible. When a mosquito gets in, we go to war. We will not sleep until it’s dead.
There are things I must do in the living areas though. The worst one is the hour-long piano practice. I might as well offer my blood in golden bowls. For an hour, I’d be a captive victim for mosquitoes to feast on. To mitigate this, I’d wear long sleeves, top and bottom. But this is Indonesia. It’s hot and humid, morning and evening. So there I was, fully clothed, hot, itching, and playing piano. No wonder I hated almost all of my piano pieces.
Mosquitoes and Technology
The war against mosquitoes can be won with the right weapons. Our weapon of choice is the electrified mosquito-zapper racket. I remember an earlier version of the racket with a single layer of horizontal grids. It helped, but some of the tiny vampires flew through them. They might have evolved to be skinnier when these rackets came out, who knows. Then the improved version came out with triple layers of horizontal and vertical grids. Now these babies get them 100%. If you swing at a mosquito, it will surely die.
We also had this trap fluorescent lamp that was shaped like a cage. Mosquitoes would be attracted to the light and fly into the cage, then be zapped by the electrical rods inside. Suckers.
Part of my coming to America, the land of the free, is gaining freedom from mosquitoes. I can move freely, hang out in any part of the house, and not be haunted by blood-sucking creatures. I mean, I can leave my bedroom door open…how amazing is that?
When I see mosquitoes, probably because I engage in activities that seek them out, I notice that they fly slower here than their Indonesian cousins. It makes them easier to kill, but their proclivity to eating me is all the same.
A NYT article cites the World Health Organization, “mosquitoes remain the deadliest animal on the planet, carrying diseases like West Nile, chikungunya, and malaria that kill more than a million people a year.” Apparently, hating mosquitoes is completely justified.
Mosquitoes, I hate you.
This post was conceived during recent camping trips.