Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Bite Me!
Wow. Just Wow!

The mosquitoes are thicker than quicksand today. Yowza. I went outside briefly to answer a cell phone call and acquire a caffeinated beverage and was swarmed! Swarmed, I say!

The little bastards really love me and I really hate them. Why can't they just leave me alone? Why do they pass up a dozen other blood donors to suck on me? Why? Is my blood the Cristal of all bloods? Am I filet mignon to everybody else's ground chuck? And, most particularly, why is it that they avoided me like the plague when I was pregnant, but not now?

Isn't that weird?

Anyway, all of these mosquitoes remind me of a story that I don't believe I've ever shared with my vast readership (all three of you). So, here it is...

Back when I was in high school, my dad decided to take us on a family vacation to Hawaii for two weeks. Poor me, huh? Yeah, I know. I'm a spoiled brat. Anyway, my sister and I got the assignments we were going to miss and climbed aboard a Honolulu-bound airplane. When we got to Honolulu, we changed planes for a puddle-jumper bound for Molokai.

Molokai, in case you don't know, is the island with the leper colony. We didn't visit the leper colony (an 8-hour donkey ride is not in the definition of vacation for this girl), but we did see a lot of the rest of the island.
However, we were impeded in our full enjoyment of the beautiful island by three days of rain. As in, the first three days were all rain. So, my sister and I buckled down and did two weeks worth of homework. On the fourth day the sun came out and we set out to see the sights.
We found lots to do and lots to see and eventually arrived at Halawa Falls - or more precisely - at the place where you begin the journey to Halawa Falls.
We get out of the rental car and walk over to this decrepit little hut which is peeling green paint. Inside the hut there sits a very old, very small, very wizened-looking Hawaiian man. He was not easy to understand, but the gist of it was basically "20-minutes, easy, that way (pointing), follow paint on rocks" which we understood to mean a 20-minute hike with the trail identified by paint on rocks.
Now, this is a journey that has become a part of family lore. I tell you what I tell you know with the utmost sincerity and faith. Please keep that in mind as you read the following.
The four of us head out proudly, hitting the trail eagerly. We figure if it is 20 minutes for a little old guy, no matter how spry, we should be there in 30 minutes even if we lollygag a bit. So, we take time to smell the hibiscus along the way. I am beginning to feel the bite of mosquitoes, however, so I keep pushing my family up the trail.
About 5 minutes into the hike, we come to...small rapids. The crossing was at least 30 feet across and, lest you think we got off the trail, the rocks sticking up out of the water were adorned in yellow paint here and there. A little old couple in front of us is about to make their way into the water, so my father rushes ahead to assist them both. Wet rocks can be slippery you know.
My sister and I begin to follow and my father comes back to help my stepmother make her crossing. Once all four of us have reached dry land again (considerably wetter, but happier for not having been plunged into the drink), we decide to split up. This is the point in the tale where you should hear "dunt dunt dunnnnnn...." Having successfully forded the stream, my father and sister decided to push on ahead at a brisker pace, leaving me to bring up the rear with my stepmother. Now, I'm no piker; I would have appreciated getting to the Falls faster because at this point I'm almost constantly fending off mosquitoes. But, somebody had to be my stepmother's buddy, so I stepped in. Lewis and Clark head out and are soon distant memories.
I'm batting at my arms and legs, trying to keep moving as I fend off the blood sucking beasts. I walk ahead, scouting the terrain, and then walk back to where my stepmother is to report. Then, I would walk ahead again and come back, all the while fighting off the 6-legged Draculas. We reach the 20-minute point in the excursion and, ominously, the paint on the rocks changes colors. Now the paint is green. I say "ominous" because that's how I see it now, but at the time I saw it as an optimistic development. Of course, five minutes later I was no longer convinced that it had been a good sign....
We can't see anybody else on the trail now, you see. Nobody. All we have are mosquitoes, tropical rain forest quiet, and the occasional pile of wild pig shit. Lovely.
So, we keep on going and ten minutes later, the paint changes to red. Now I'm really concerned. I am still scouting the trail and then rejoining my stepmother, but now I decide to backtrack the trail to see if we missed some paint somewhere, but we didn't. So, I'm beating off the mosquitoes and becoming concerned that the little old man is down in his hut laughing, laughing!, at the stupid main-landers. That, or we are hopelessly lost.
We continue up the trail and I look at my watch. Forty minutes have passed since we left the little old man and his peeling green hut. I've seen three different paint colors and no people for about 20 minutes. My legs are bloody and coated with the carcasses of dead mosquitoes. I'm also sweating and starting to get a bit bitchy. We keep going though, because we come from pioneer stock and there isn't much quit in me. That is until I saw the crack in the Earth.
As I was on one of my millions of pre-scouting mini-trips, I came upon this huge freaking crack in the Earth. It was kind of like a cartoon, actually. You know, the sort of gap in the earth that the road runner easily passes over but that results in the overconfident Wile E. Coyote falling to his doom. Again. That's what I was looking at. A big freakin' hole in the planet that I was pretty sure could kill me.
Now, I'm only 5'3" tall and I'm wearing espadrilles and jean shorts. My hands are sweaty and my legs are bloody and bumpy. I itch all over. I sort of lean over to see if I can see the bottom of the chasm and I lose my stomach. I step back from the edge. And then, I had a good chat with myself.
Sure. You could take a running leap at it and probably make it. Probably. Of course, there's nobody on the other side to pull you up should you land precariously and be dangling from the scraggly undependable root of some rain forest bush. And, falling is seriously not just gonna hurt, it is gonna put an end to the need to take the ACT and SAT. I see headlines in my head.
"Family Hike Ends in Tragedy"
"Girl Falls to Death, Lands in Rapids"
"'Espadrilles Not Acceptable Hiking Gear' says Little Old Man in Hut"
I weigh the alternatives and finally come down on the side of caution being the better part of valor. I wimped out. I folded. I decided to go lick my wounds in a place free of mosquitoes!
I turned tail and hiked back to where my stepmother was checking out an odd insect and informed her that I was not going to make the leap. I told her that she could do it if she wanted, but I wasn't going to do it. She said that if I wasn't going to do it, no way was she going to do so, so we both turn tail.
I am now little more than chum for those blood-thirsty sharks on the wing. Worse, I feel a nuclear level raging bitch coming on. I turn to my stepmother, politely, and ask her if she would mind if I pushed on ahead without her to avoid the loss of more blood. She takes one look at me and agrees. So, I hightail it out of the jungle. I make it back to the little hut in 30 minutes, walking at an exceedingly rapid pace, with so many mosquito bites I am now very uncomfortable.
As I pass the little hut, I take a look at the little man. He is napping in his chair, chin on his chest. And, much to my shame, I cursed the little man. I said all manner of ugly names under my breath, damning him to an eternal jungle of hell, traveling a poorly marked trail where the paint changes colors and the mosquitoes claim small children as appetizers. I realize now that my reaction was mostly borne of frustration and fear - that chasm really scared me - but at the time, I wanted to see that SOB strung up on a spit and enjoying a down home BBQ, if you know what I mean. "Twenty minutes" my ass!
I stomped over to the car, opened the door quickly, got in, and slammed the door quickly behind me to segregate myself from my own personal cumulus cloud of mosquitoes. After five minutes I had managed to kill all of the bastards who had followed me into the car and for the next 30 minutes, I counted my mosquito bites. I had over 200 bites on my legs alone. Over 200!
They bit me through my jean shorts. I had bites under my espadrilles. I had bites in places nice girls don't talk about! My family eventually returned to the car and quickly jumped to the matter at hand, as they saw it: my wimping out. I explained that even were I able to successfully make the leap of faith, there was no way for me to get my stepmother over to the other side. And they conceded the point. But, they said, it was only another five minutes....
But I asked them if the little old guy's assertion of "20 minutes, easy, that-way, follow paint on rocks" was accurate. They said no way. No Way! Even an experienced hiker couldn't make it in less than 30, let alone the elderly! And, Mr. 20-Minutes never mentioned fording rapids or jumping canyons either. The bastard.
I still can't forgive the lying sack of shit.
And, to this day in my family, when you tell someone "20-minutes, easy, that-way..." we all know that you are a sick and twisted SOB sending someone on a pleasure cruise like Gilligan's. Standing family joke.
But those mosquitoes? Not fucking funny.


posted by Phoenix | 8:37 AM


At 11:11 AM, Anonymous worldpeacereligion said...

hopefully you didn't get west nile virus


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