I think it may be the end of days in New Mexico. Things have been almost biblical for the past few years, what with the strange weather, various plagues, and general creepiness. I halfway expect Moses to stride into my house, full of righteous indignation with his robe billowing behind him, throwing down his staff and demanding that I let his people go (although I haven’t enslaved any Israelites for as long as I can remember – so I’m not sure why Moses has it out for me).
It all started about two years ago – with a tempest that seemed intent on destroying me and mine. The winds were blowing at 75mph driving the rain and then the hail vertically, with enough force to draw blood. Lightning struck the cinderblock wall in my backyard, causing it to explode and send chunks of concrete hurling towards the house. The hailstones massacred my garden, punched holes in the tiles on my roof, and cracked several windows. Seriously, it was like Zeus was sitting on his golden throne, cackling maniacally as he rained his thunderbolts down upon me.
Then the locusts came.
All summer the grasshoppers swarmed throughout the city – you couldn’t take a step outside without either stepping on one (there is nothing like the sound and feel of that hard exoskeleton cracking under your feet and then the ooze of bug body as it smushes everywhere) or (more likely) causing the grasshoppers to take a panicked, giant hop in their attempt to get away from you. However, grasshoppers have the worst sense of direction of any bug in the insect world – because inevitably, that giant hop ended up with the grasshopper(s) either 1) in my hair, 2) on my face, or 3) down the front of my shirt.
The next thing you know, I’m doing a frenzied, uncoordinated dance in the parking lot, complete with hair whipping, hand waving and slapping, twisting and turning – with an unnerving, high-pitched keening as the only musical accompaniment.
This spring, the next plague arrived – moths.
There are dozens, nay hundreds (perhaps even thousands) around my abode at any given time. If I water my garden during the day, they will erupt from the foliage where they had hidden from the bright sun – angry at the disturbance and determined to make me pay for the disturbance. They fly in groups, like drunk, erratic kamakazi pilots – bashing into my head, arms, the tree, and the windows on the house – finally escaping into the dim recesses of my garage (why in the hell did I leave that door open?) where they regroup – ready to begin their assault again should I be so bold as to attempt to get the ice cream from the garage freezer at 9 o’clock at night.
Seriously – if you haven’t flipped on the light in your garage at 9 o’clock at night, only to have five or six dozen moths spring into flight – weaving and whizzing around you – but stubbornly refusing to land for even a split second so that you can smash them into oblivion with the fly swatter – well, let’s just say it’s like something out of a horror movie. But don’t scream – one of them is likely to dart right into your mouth.
Inevitably, three or four of the more intrepid Lepidoptera will find their way into the house each evening – and when the sun sets, I’ll see the dancing shadows and hear the faint “fwup, fwup, fwup” of wings as they hurl themselves at the illuminated living room floor lamp. Once I decide to retire for the night, divesting myself of all clothing and settling into my comfortable bed, I can predict with some certainty that as soon as I reach to turn off the bedside light, a particularly brave/suicidal moth will dive bomb the lampshade. I’m sure you know what happens next…
Another wild, and this time naked, dance begins – with the moth leading me on a merry chase around my bedroom. As I hop, bend and twist in my attempts to capture (and then brutally flush) the offender, jiggly bits of me that are normally snugly secured by undergarments during the day flap to and fro and the cold air assaults other bits of me that would rather stay warm and toasty.
My cats are fascinated with the intruders and thrilled to join in the hunt – unfortunately, since my cats can’t fly, they are not very effective for moth control. Quite frankly, I’m not very effective at moth control either and most of the time the moth will suddenly disappear. I’ll watch the light for long minutes and occasionally sense movement in my peripheral vision – but when I whip my head around, there is nothing there. I finally admit defeat and go back to bed knowing that somewhere, hidden in my room, there is a moth just waiting for me to go to sleep and hoping that my mouth will open slightly sometime during the night.
Keep watching the news – I fully expect the water in the Rio Grande to turn to blood or frogs to rain down from the sky any day now.