Okay, why don’t mosquitoes like me? What do y’all got that I haven’t got?
Is the blood in these veins somehow lesser blood? Less good? Less desirable? Less tasty?
Do my platelets not appeal to the discriminating palate of your upscale River Oaks blood sucker? Too cold? Needs salt? Maybe a ready-made entry wound to help with easier access?
They all say I am lucky but I just feel bad because why don’t mosquitoes ever bite me?
Do you remember Bruce Willis in “Unbreakable”? Remember? That part where he sits there and he’s trying to think back over the years about whether he’s ever been hurt? And he hasn’t – Bruce Willis hasn’t – because he is some sort of ill-defined Superman.
Well, that was me on Tuesday. I mean, not Bruce Willis. Not the Superman part. But the thinking-back-over-my-life part. Looking for bites. Trying to remember ever being bitten.
When Dana said, “We’ve gotta get these kids inside.” She said, “They are covered in skeeters. They’re being eaten alive.” I scoffed.
Yes, I scoffed! I scoffed because the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony is less than a mile away from us. And it is three hundred thousand members strong, and you, my friend, couldn’t come up with a better mosquito-killing method if you filled the streets with DDT all the way up to your knees.
Every night, right at dusk, a cloud comes up from under that bridge. It fills the sky. And the bats fly out. All three hundred thousand very hungry Mexican free-tail bats. They’re flapping and they’re peeping and they’re sonar-ing their way up and out with one thing on their tiny bat minds:
So on Tuesday, when I heard Dana and I heard her mosquito excuse as a ruse for going back inside the house, hell yes I scoffed. I scrunched up my face and I pouted my lips and I announced that there were no mosquitoes around our house.
I said, “There is not a mosquito to be fou-u-ou-u-ou-” and I was still saying it as I looked up and towards my family.
My wife and my kids appeared as though they had been dipped in some sort of mosquito coating. Their skin – I mean, the small parts of their skin still visible – appeared white and flaky, and their cheeks were sunken in, and they all looked three sizes too small under those layers of enormous and engorged mosquitoes. It was a feeding frenzy!
In that moment, my scoff changed to a scream. I looked at my hands. Scratched at my face. I reviewed my arms, front and back. Nothing!
I panicked. I slapped at what remained of my daughters. A cloud of mosquitoes straight out of Exodus buzzed and swarmed and came back around and landed right back on my daughters again.
But not on me. Not even by accident. Not even for lack of any other surface to land on.
Not a single mosquito landed on me.
* * * * *
|Actual Houston mosquito.|
I have lived outdoors. In Houston! In summer! In the heat and humidity and in the swamp-like consistency that is the Houston summer air. Where you wave hello to your neighbor standing fifty feet away and then twenty seconds later, she’s hit in the face with this soupy stuff from the ripples.
In all that time, in all those situations, in the mosquito capital of the world, I have never been bitten by a mosquito.
So again I ask you: Why don’t mosquitoes like me?
* * * * *
It’s not that I want big red blotches. It’s not that I want to itch and to scratch.
I just feel left out.
Looking around at other people now, seeing them sadly rubbing Benadryl over their arms and across their necks, it is so easy to take this sort of thing… personally.
I feel a little jealous. I’ve got blood! If you prick me, do I not bleed? (Yes, I do!)
It makes me wonder about other blood suckers. Would a flea turn up its nose to me if I were the only warm-blooded beastie to be found?
What about leeches? Is my blood at least good enough for a leech?
They say everybody in this world’s got a super power. Until Tuesday, I never knew what mine was.
I’d be the last person dead in a West Nile outbreak. I’m the only human who would not need a Hazmat suit in case of an avian flu pandemic. Vampire outbreak? Check. Zombie Apocalypse? Bring it on. Maybe a bath salt party and my face is the only one left un-gnawed at the end of the night.
It is still just a theory. The only part I’m for sure about is the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes, which do not like me. Maybe they do not like how red my red blood cells are. Perhaps my hemoglobin went a little heavy on the cilantro or my white blood cells refuse to make eye contact.
But right now, here, this afternoon, as I prepare to wade into Buffalo Bayou, covered head to toe in my own fresh wet blood as an experiment, still I wonder:
Why don’t mosquitoes like me?
I am serving myself up on a big blood platter. Because we all need to feel wanted in this world.
Katy is here, my lovelies! Come! Come and taste!