Overthinking so you don't have to.
Bill and I recently spent two weeks on the East Coast. We toured Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New York. We’ve done variations of this trip before, mostly in warm weather so we’ve got prime conditions to visit the family lakehouse.
I know how that sounds. “Ooh, a lakehouse! That sounds nice!” Largely, it is. I love family time at the lakehouse.
I also dread hanging out at the lakehouse. Swimming in the fresh standing water is fun. Being outside of the water – on the shore, on a picnic bench, in a hammock, using the bathroom – no matter what I do, mosquitoes get me. I’m the bait.
When I tell people, “I’m that person who gets bitten all the time,” I am not exaggerating. Hanging out by a campfire, where, theoretically, mosquitoes prefer to avoid the smoke, I acquired twenty-two bites. (We were at an outdoor wedding where the bride played frisbee in her dress. I ended up hiding in the car for the last twenty minutes, the bun in my hair loose and fallen apart from shaking my head so hard because two mosquitoes were buzzing in my ears. The bobby pins went flying and I never got them back.) One night lying covered head-to-toe in clothing, wrapped in a blanket, with only my eyes peeking out of my hoodie, we watched a meteor shower. I felt a prick in my back pocket and said, “I think a mosquito just bit my butt.” Everyone said, “Really? No, no way,” and they were all wrong. A mosquito bit me while I was lying in the ground, through a blanket and the two layers of denim covering the cheek of my ass. MOSQUITOES BITE ME THROUGH THREE LAYERS OF FABRIC.
When I tell people, “I’m that person who gets bitten all the time,” they often reply the best way they know how, which is by dispensing advice for someone who doesn’t have a fucking clue what a mosquito is. They tell me the remedies I “should try”:
When I tell people, “I’m that person who gets bitten all the time,” I am saving them the defeatist attitude I have toward my condition. I have tried all these things.
Buckle up, Katniss, because you’re about to become the hunter. – is what I say to myself when I prep for the outdoors. I’ve come upon a few learnings in my days of being a Very Rare cut of steak to mosquitoes:
This week I heard about Kite, which, if there was a G-d, should have been given to me as part of an “It’s a Tasty Girl!” welcome package to the world. This tiny patch claims to confuse mosquitoes’ detection of carbon dioxide, making the wearer “invisible” to bugs for up to forty-eight hours.
This sounds more science-y than the citronella/garlic ointments people try to rub on me, and that makes me hopeful. It’s also FDA-approved, which makes me less scared to try it. I’m so eager to be a guinea pig that I backed it on IndieGoGo (apparently it’s the #1 on IndieGoGo right now!), signing up for a perk package that promises to test ten Kites where mosquito bites are deadly, plus send me a delivery of ten Kites in the mail (and a sticker, but honestly I don’t care about the sticker). Here I was, wanting a pack of Kites to get me through a life of adventure and exploration, and actually I’m also potentially helping prevent the spread of malaria in Uganda. Thanks, Olfactor Laboratories!
At this point, the Kite IndieGoGo campaign doesn’t need any more money. They’ve raised $260,626 out of the initial $75,000 requested, and they still have thirty-five days to go. But if this works, if Kite protects Ugandans from the threats of malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus, then I’m all for being a pest to the repellant market.
If my Kites work, I will eat my hat net.* Seasoned in citronella, garlic, and banana.
*Or at least sacrifice it in a Pagan ritual of thanks.
I’m not stupid. I’ve been bug bait for twenty-nine years. I know that my blood tastes good. I know that repellant exists. I know that DEET is bad for me. I know that lots of places in the world have mosquitoes, and many of those mosquito bites prove deadly and fatal.
If I tell you ”I’m that person who gets bitten all the time,” all I’m really saying is:
No, I won’t go on that nature walk with you because I’ll be eaten alive.
Gimme a minute. I need to get my wide-brimmed hat, hat net, long-sleeve shirt, hoodie, denim bottoms, socks, and sneakers.
Be a pal and shower me in that bucket of repellant, will you?