Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Buggy Ride

I was visiting Amy the other night at her parents' home near the lake. 

Around 9:00PM we decided to go for a ride in the Polaris around the lake to watch the sun set. This is what the Polaris looks like. See, no windows. (Pssst! This is a key to the story). 

The first part of the ride was lovely. The lake was calm and placid. We could hear the crickets chirping and the evening was cooling off.  

We drove to the south side of the lake by an apple orchard where the breeze was mild and gentle and the air seemed really sweet and fresh. 

These were our views. 

This is the road we were on. You can see the beginning of the orchard up on the left. I think we passed all of three or four cars on our drive. The stillness and quiet were intoxicating. 

Amy was the driver of our little escapade. We were driving straight into the sunset so she borrowed my shades so she could see better.

We stopped just past the apple orchard and sat watching the lake. And then an amazing, gorgeous, soul-wrenchingly beautiful sunset to help us bid goodbye to our day together. 

We watched a flock of birds lift off from the marshlands surrounding the lake. 

The peace and calm of the setting seemed to sink into my spirit. 

As we bid adieu to the sun. 

As the darkness settled in and the lake turned even more still, we realized it was time to head back. Amy had kids to put to bed and I needed to drive home. It had been a perfect kind of evening. 

That is until that point. 

The hot, dry July air had cooled with the setting sun and a stronger breeze was now blowing off the lake as we took off in the Polaris and drove past the orchard. It was once we passed the orchard that things started heading down hill. 

See there really are marshlands or wetlands or boggy, mucky places all around the lake. Which are host to breeding grounds and infestations of, you guessed it, mosquitos. Or as we learned later, their more innocuous cousins: the lake bug. The lake bug looks like a mosquito and acts like a mosquito but does not bite like a mosquito. Small comfort. 

As we passed the orchard we seemed to drive head on into a cloud of these little critters. And I mean head on because if you remember the Polaris has no windows. So we were the windshield. And driving any open vehicle at a speed of 20 miles an hour or more really does make you a windshield as those tiny, little buggy bodies began to die quick deaths by smashing against our faces, in our hair, and across our chests. 

Amy and I freaked a little but we were soon through the cloud. I pulled my face out of my shirt and Amy did the same and we looked at each other and laughed. Well, at least we would have a good story to tell when we got back about the killer cloud of lake bugs that we drove through. 

We were congratulating ourselves on our little adventure when suddenly we hit another cloud. Yikes! Only this cloud of lake bugs was longer and deeper than the last one. I kept my mouth shut but that didn't prevent little bugs from suicide bombing against my lips and teeth as we passed by them. 

After escaping the second cloud, Amy and I stopped to reconsider our options. We were still about two miles from her parents' house. The sun had gone down, we were on a dark, deserted road in the middle of nowhere in an open buggy. We could see more clouds of lake bugs ahead of us, but decided our best option was to pull our shirts over our faces, keep our mouths closed and be the death march to some more of those over-friendly lake bugs. With the darkness settling in, Amy put sunglasses back on because as the driver, she needed to be able to see where I had the luxury of closing my eyes as we drove through each cloud. And it is much easier to see if lake bugs are splatting against your sunglasses rather than your cornea. 

Plus, we were on the southwestern side of the lake. In one more mile we made a crucial turn straight south that would take us away from the heavy wetland area of the lake and likely the infestation of lake bugs. 

So, Amy put on the sunglasses and I closed my eyes and we gunned it.  

It was sweet misery as we approached the crucial corner. We sped through cloud after cloud of lake bugs with barely a moment to recover between each episode. I was shrieking with silent laughter (remember, do not open your mouth or you will swallow a gallon of lake bugs) while Amy was simply shrieking, high-pitched in the back of her throat, but shrieking nonetheless. It was like a mimed panic. Do not open your mouth (or your nasal passages or your eyes, if you can help it) for within nanoseconds you would feel the wriggling little corpses of numerous lake bugs as they gave up their last gasp of lake bug life. 

It was a misery the lasted but minutes, but seemed a near eternity until we made that last fateful turn to the stretch of road taking us home. Here the air was dryer, the lake was further away, and we could stop and shake the still-writhing hordes of dead lake bugs out of our hair and eyes and mouths. 

That is until we turned the corner. Whatever vain hope had accompanied us previously that the corner would bring relief was soon dashed to smithereens as we turned into what can only be called The Great and Continuous, Mile-Long Cloud of Millions of Buzzing Lake Bugs. A cloud that stretched the entire length of road we had to traverse to get home. 

I think it must have been worse for Amy driving. She could see the lake bugs dying against her sunglasses. And as the more sensitive and intuitive of our duo she seemed to feel each one of the thousands of little bodies as they collided with her hair and her face and her body. 

And that high-pitched shriek, she'd been shrieking in the back of her throat? Well, it turned in to a full-blown panic attack when we hit the Great Cloud. Still keeping her mouth shut and her sunglasses on, and still managing to keep the Polaris on the road, Amy began a frantic tango of survival, the likes of which I have never been privy to witness in this life and hope to never see in the next. 

It was a combination of one crazy arm swinging wildly brushing over her body while she drove with her other elbow as her hands shook desperately through her hair trying to dislodge the thousands of dead bodies now residing on her scalp. And the shriek only grew more frantic with each centimeter that we traveled along that long, heinous ride through bug oblivion. 

It was a shriek that only further incited my now gasping, chortling, unable-to-breath self. Between the bugs dying a thousand deaths upon me and Amy's crazy, life-or-death tango drive, I was a goner. Such a goner, that as I doubled over and gasped for air, I committed the unpardonable sin and opened my mouth. 

Only to swallow a vat of lake bugs. 

Too yummy. 

Somehow we made it home. Somehow Amy conjured up enough willpower to keep us on the road and in relative safety until we reached the barn next to her parents' house. Then she jumped screaming, full-throated now, out of  the Polaris and into the dark night. 

And I would not see her again until every bug and been picked clean from her own writhing body. 

What a ride. 


Aunt Mary Jane said...

Well, it was descriptive enough that I could feel your pain! Yuck!! Makes my scalp crawl just thinking about it!

Carissa Rasmussen said...

those are some gorgeous photos, oh my gosh eden! (I like to dwell on the pleasant)


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