The Geek Icon
Ankle blood is sweetest. The anopheles has its wicked way with me while I'm sleeping.
When my dad and I went to the Taronga Zoo for the day, we gave the Info Booth lady a funny look as she tried to sell us on free bug repellent when she handed over our complimentary map of the zoo. Sure, it was hot and sticky, and zoos are fly heaven. But we didn't think it was that bad. And it wasn't. We spent a relatively bug-free day, checking out all the native animals we could find as well as any other strange creatures that captured our interest.
In retrospect, though, I wish I could go back and grab a few packets of that bug repellent, so I can put it on when I get home at night. Somewhere, among the empty paint tins and plastic bags full of the evil vine we pulled out of our back courtyard, there is a pool of stagnant water full of wriggling little mosquito larvae. Every few weeks, a bunch more hatch into full grown mosquitos and the female ones get jiggy and search out my ankles to suck proboscis-sized portions of my blood.
Just my ankles and feet, mind. I'm glad I can wear flip flops at work so I can scratch my feet every ten minutes. A week ago I had five or six bite marks on each foot and was starting to look like I was developing some kind of lumpy gross skin disease. I'm still pondering my move to circus/carny work, although the lumps are down to about two per foot now.
When I was about seven we got our family dog, Bess, who was a great kid dog, and she drank from a big plastic bucket we kept filled for her in the back yard. The bucket was square and low-sided, lined with algae and full of mosquito larvae. I'd capture the larvae in a clear jar and sprinkle in some fish food, then seal the jar and watch it over the intervening weeks. The larvae looked like little hairy lumpy worms, and would move around in a sort of diagonal spastic shudder. Then they would change into a form that to me looked like a giant comma. Finally they'd hatch out into The Enemy, which would soon die in the tiny little airspace in my jar.
My recent nightly wars (why just the feet??) with the little buggers have renewed my morbid curiosity about them. I did some googling around for mosquito info pertaining to Australia, but strangely I didn't find a lot-- not even historical info, and I'm sure there were problems with malaria or something for the first Europeans here. But I did find this article, which looks interesting. Time to get me some genetically modified yeast!