Monday, May 30, 2011

Is it really just a dumb, ugly bug?

Nashville. What an interesting place. This was my third trip. While the last two trips I spent most of my time on a golf course, last week I was able to experience more or what Nashville has to offer--the good and the bad.

Okay, now wait just a sec! Here I was going to write a nice post about Nashville--the nice people, the beautiful countryside. I was going to skim over the frightening aspects of sitting through a "Severe Weather Warning with possibility of tornadoes". And I was going to try really hard to avoid almost all mention of the cicadas. But I've been called out in Facebook. According to my "friend", Nicole, only small children and I are scared of these ugly creatures. But I feel like I just lived through five days in a very bad, very low-budget sci-fi horror film.

Cicadas.'s definition: "any large homopterous insect of the family Cicadidae, the male of which produces a shrill sound by means of vibrating membranes on the underside of the abdomen."

Shrill? Shrill? What about deafening?

I landed in Nashville, made my way out to my rental car and hit the freeway. Doubting my phone GPS, I missed my exit and had to go the extra long way to my hotel down West End Road. I had the music playing and the air conditioning blasting, windows rolled up, but I kept hearing some underlying noise. I rolled down my window. Oh, must be construction work. Rolled up the window. Kept hearing the noise. Rolled down the window. Same noise. Same construction. But like no construction noise I've ever heard in California. Who knows. I was in the South.

I kept driving and the noise didn't lessen. I kept rolling down the window and trying to identify what machinery would be making such a racket. Unidentifiable. There was a LOT of construction going on in Nashville. Blocks and blocks and blocks. At one point I stopped at a stop light and happened to glance at the sidewalk, at the row of trees and that's when I knew. That's when I saw. That was no construction noise. That was the sounds of a bazillion cicadas!

I'm not really a bug person. My older brother convinced me as a child that moths were going to land in my hair at night and lay eggs. But, I've never been a screamer either. Well, I screamed like a girl for four days, starting about 20 minutes after I got to my hotel.

Let's just get this straight, up front. Yes, I KNOW that cicadas are harmless. I KNOW they don't bit or attack humans. I also KNOW that they're ugly and look prehistoric. And I KNOW that no matter where I was it seemed as though the cicadas had a flight pattern aimed directly at me.

I met Mike down by the pool shortly after arriving at the hotel. We were on our way to get a drink and wait for a friend of mine. He was kind enough to point out the still-living cicada floating on its back in the pool. I think maybe I screamed. I know I ran. I know Mike laughed at me. And so began my cicada saga in Nashville. Just two days later I would have been laughed at by Mike (again and again), potential clients, my "friend" (and I'm using that term loosely now), Nicole, and close to 200 golfers over two days. Oh, and the cab driver as he watched my futile efforts to climb from the back seat to the front seat after a cicada somehow managed to fly through the tiny crack in the rolled down window and hang out with me...

And yes, I screamed as the cicadas seems to float right at me while driving in the golf cart. It wasn't until Spoon told me that it was a butterfly, not a cicada was I able to calm down. I spent days dipping and dodging, but unable to stay completely away from those ugly creatures.

I know their life is short and I know that they live underground for 13 years, but I don't care. When I got off the plane in Oakland the first thing I noticed was the quiet. I was thankful to be home. And yes, I did dodge that moth coming out of baggage, but I was happy knowing that when I laid down in bed that night I had no fear of that ugly, ugly creature sharing my pillow. Good luck with that Spoon!


Paul said...

cicadas are the most discusting swarm of worthless bugs on the face of the earth. its not really fear, more like creeped out. when a swarm of them fly into you cause they are simply blind, it does freak you out... they are there to hybernate, dig out, breed, lay eggs and die, all in about 7 minutes...

Druzelle Cederquist said...

Hi Karen -

Well, I actually wrote a poem that has the sound of cicadas in it. And I found you via googling for a photo to go with the poem on my website (soon to be launched).

The photo I'd like to use is the second one in this blog post. May I use it and link to your site here? Really enjoy the photography here.

Best wishes,
Druzelle Cederquist