Into the Swarm

Last night’s exercise was originally scheduled to be swimming and walking, but with the rains we’ve endured this past week, circumstances differed…in more ways than one. I already wrote about catching the drizzle between cloud bursts of the storm on Tuesday, but the storm raged all day yesterday, making the regularly scheduled bike ride ill advised. It rained a little today as well, but fortunately, it stopped in time to do some kind of exercise, so my son and I decided to ride bikes rather than swim. One other effect of all the rain was an increase in a certain insect population.

For our ride, my son and I cranked out to what I think is a good cruising speed. My speedometer called it about 14 Mph, though my phone insists that it is 12.7 to 13. Either way, that is a good speed to maintain for 10 miles, which I have set as a daily target. Since DJ’s bike is not a road bike, he has to work a little harder to keep pace. We were riding along and the phone announced that we had just hit the six mile mark when it hit me.

I was peddling along when the first one entered my mouth. Now the phrase, “keep your trap shut” takes on a whole new meaning when you are spitting and hacking up some poor unfortunate flying creature before you gag. I remember Mr. Miyagi admonishing young Daniel-san “breathe in through the nose, out the mouth. These are words to live by when riding a bicycle at 14 miles an hour (OK, ok maybe 12.7 but still). And this one was while I was still in the neighborhood. Once we entered the park with the detention pond, things got real.

It was dark as we started along the recently paved path. New park benches, recently mounted to the paved pads, were still wrapped in wet paint tape, but just barely visible in the twilight. The attack squadrons of mosquitoes were lined up and ready to start their offensive to reclaim the park from the human interlopers who invaded their wetlands to do nothing more than spend their time running in circles. The first wave hit rather timidly, as if feeling out our defenses. The impacts on my arms and face were not much more than nuisances, easily ignored. But once we finished the first loop, we started on the second. This wave was much more aggressive and must have had some kamikaze bugs. These insects were not simple little mosquitoes. No, these bugs had heft to them. When they hit, I felt it. They almost knocked me off the bike when one hit my square in the forehead. This was no easy feat as I was wearing a bike helmet so the bug had to pilot his way past my visor in order to hit his target.

Despite being outnumbered a million to two, we rode on, knowing our goal was still within reach. Thousands of bugs gave their life in their futile assault. I think the bug high command realized their plan was failing so they regrouped. They took a couple of their best pilots and had them swarm us at the end of the loop where they dove straight for our eyes. One hit me right in the tear duct and stuck there like an unexploded bomb. When I reached up to wipe it away, some of it got into my eye almost making me fall off the bike. I was lucky that I managed to unclip my shoe from the pedal to keep myself upright while I tried to clear my vision and deal with the sting. My son had a similar experience at the same time. Once we got back into the neighborhood, the attack was over. We only had to deal with a few pockets of resistance fighters.

I felt so many bugs’ impact, I would not have been surprised if I looked like the front end of a car after driving through the Atchafalaya swamp during love bug season when I got home. I had to shower just to get the feeling of all those bugs off of me.

Thankfully, tonight is not bike night. I plan on swimming my 10 laps and walking my 10,000 steps and calling it a day. Hopefully by my ride Saturday morning, the bugs will have abandoned their plan to retake the park and they can just live their little bug lives and let us live ours. Even so, I do plan on keeping my trap shut when I ride from now on.

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Filed under Humor, Personal

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