Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A digression: or "the reason I'm having nightmares"

I have the perfect idea for a horror flick.  It will be called Close Encounters of the Insect Kind or maybe Invasion of the Water Bugs.  Or possibly Nightmare on Lake Winnebago.
It begins with a party at a lake house, kind of a small ballroom/bar venue, let’s say a wedding.  The guests are inspired by the words of the officiant.  They laugh, they cry... they are impressed with the beauty of the bride and enraptured at the simple elegance of the occasion.  They eat wonderful food, have wonderful conversation, and dance up a storm on the dance floor.  There’s music and fun and laughter, and they stay up late, dancing the night away.  
Finally, a young woman and her friend - both good friends of the bride from long ago - decide to retire, and after congratulating the bride and making their exit, they talk about what fun they had as they get their coats and proceed to the door.
They leave, laughing, and are immediately swept from the frivolity and gaiety of the reception into a terrible nightmare that seems never-ending.  
A simple step from the doorway, and lake flies swarm the two women, making them choke off mid-laugh, covering their faces with their hands and rushing as quickly as possible in three inch heels for the car.  They spot the vehicle ahead and relief washes over them - the end is near! - but as they near it, they realize the horror is far from over.  
Lake flies cover every surface, leaving nothing untouched.  They are latched onto the roof, the windows, the doors, and what’s worse, the HANDLES.  As the women near the car, the clouds of insects grow ever more dense and their steps kick up frenzies of the flies, which surround them and cling to their clothing, and their hair, making spasmodic  attempts to enter them at every opening - mouth, ears, eyes, nose...  The girl wants to scream, but can’t, for she knows it will only be an invitation for a family of bugs to launch themselves down her throat.  As she runs on tip toes, she hears the crunching of small lake fly carcasses beneath her feet and cringes, trying to open the door without smushing any lake flies with her fingers.  She takes a small leap to the car, hoping to avoid any more lake fly murders on her conscience, only to slide on their slippery little bug bodies, crushing all in her path, before falling into her seat.  The two women slam their doors and breathe deep sighs of relief.  The lean their heads back, chuckling a little at the horror of it all, and that’s when they see it.
The lake flies want revenge for their savaged brothers.  They’ve breeched the doorways and are swarming the dome light.  It’s only a matter of time before they gather their numbers and attack...
You guessed it.  It’s a true story.  It happened to me and my best friend, El while we were attending the (very beautiful, classy but not uppity) wedding of a long-time friend of ours.  
Here is where I take a little tangent.  We’ve been friends for a long time.  We were friends long ago, when we all looked like this:
(El's wedding)

And then a little later when we looked like this:
(my wedding)

And we were still friends when we hadn’t seen each other for a while and looked like this:
(Veronika's wedding)

And here we are last Saturday:
(Kristin's wedding)

I think the set is complete now!
mr was out of town attending his grandfather’s funeral and El’s mr was back at their home base being paid to act.  We had no one to protect us from the evils of the lake fly mob.  We tried to be courageous.  We ran to my car as best as we could.  But I they got the best of us.  
I would like to add that I had mini with me at the time.  She joined us at the dance part of the reception, because I knew she’d love to dance!  And she needed an excuse to wear her silver tutu again.  So there I was, covering her head with her little sweater and my hands, while leaving myself completely vulnerable (the things we do for the love of our children...)  And, yes, the lake flies really were THAT BAD.  Ask El.  
What’s that?  You don’t know what a lake fly is?  You’ve never had the chance to meet one?  Well, they look like this:

Yes, a lot like mosquitos without the mouth.  Doesn’t look that bad, you say?  Well, this is what they actually look like on a spring night right on the lake:  

I’m not kidding.  This picture was not altered in any fashion.  These are quite possibly the very same lake flies that attacked us.  If you could get in close enough to see, they are probably flashing their little gang signs and scowling at me.  I think I killed millions of their throng as I stampeded them on my way to respite in my car.  If you don’t believe me, look up this little local article about how these are the worst bugs in 25 years.  The worst because they now harbor grudges. 
When El and I were safely inside, we did breathe a sigh of relief.  And we did chuckle just a teeny bit - but I think it was mostly out of nervousness.  Those bugs looked like trouble.  For all I knew, there were enough of them on my car to pick it up and deposit us squarely in the water.  And when we saw the lake flies that had made it inside we were thrown back into the nightmare... We swatted a few, flicked a few out the window, and decided to make a beeline home.  As I was driving, I tried to salvage my car from beneath the clutches of the gang of flies by washing my windshield.  And as I watched the remains of lake fly after creepy lake fly tumble from my windshield, I decided I needed a car wash before I went home.
TWO (yes two) power washes later, 

the bugs were quite a bit less prominent on the outside, but thriving in the car.  We were still finding them attached to our clothing and of course, could feel our skin crawling with bugs - imaginary and real.  I now know what the term “heebie-jeebies” means.  I had it on Saturday, and I had it bad.  I was heebie-jeebie-ing all the way home.  El and I were silent as I drove the darkened streets.  If you know either of us, you know this is unusual.  (And if you know both of us, you know this is highly improbable.  And yet, it happened.)  All we could think about were lake flies.  The way the flew at your eyes and mouth in a zig-zag, hoping to confuse you so they could gain entrance.  The way their beady little eyes seem to glisten in the moonlight.  The way their wings buzz in hyperactivity.  That annoying crunch and slide as you walk over them because they refuse to get out of your way.  The way flock to the warmth of your body and cling to you with their little suction cup feet.  Just writing about it makes me feel them on me again - climbing in my hair and alighting on my arms... I’ve been violated and will never fully recover.
We couldn’t talk about it then.  And we probably won’t talk about it ever again.  The thought of “lake fly incident” causes me to gag a little.  
Well, when I got home, I thought I shooed most of them out of the car, but I can now attest to just how sneaky these little nematoceras are.  When bug and I got in the car the next day, they lurked in the shadows, biding their time.  While bug and I were busy in church, they began to creep.  When bug and I got into our car to go home, I didn’t notice them.  And neither did bug.  Until suddenly:
“It’s the itsy bitsy spider!”  
“What? Where?”  I thought maybe he was just being silly.  Anytime he sees a web or anything he thinks he’s seeing a spider.
There then followed a very boisterous rendition of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” which was cut short by terrified screams and panicky sobs.
“bug!  What is it?  What’s wrong?”
More sobs.
Trying to keep my eyes on the road so as not to cause an accident, I said, “Can you use your words to tell me what’s wrong?”
“I scared!  I scared of the spider!”
I turn slightly, and see them.
They are flocking to his window, alternately throwing themselves against the glass and buzzing about his head.  Anytime one starts to move, he howls in petrified terror.
I try to explain that they won’t hurt him, but I can’t really blame him.  I don’t like them either.
So I pull over to the side of the road, get out of the car, shoo the bugs away (unfortunately smashing a few of them into my car upholstery) hug bug (who clings to me so tightly I'm not sure he’ll let go) and then begin to drive again.
I really thought the trouble was over at that point, but over the next few days I kept finding more in my car, as if the one night they were alive in there was all it took for them to multiply and replenish their entire species, which has now taken up residence within my cup holders.  Yesterday I saw them scuttering around my garage light.
I read that they only live something like 72 hours.  The “event” happened on Saturday.
Today I found one on my kitchen counter.  
And I don’t live anywhere NEAR a lake.  Talk about horror flick.
Can’t you just see it?  The girl keeps finding lake flies where they shouldn’t be... in her bed, in her shoe, on the counter... and every morning she gets in her car there are more of them twisting and buzzing around her dome light...
It’s just too creepy.  


Veronika said...

I LOVE this post!!! You explained the ending to that night PERFECTLY! We still have some in the garage too, and we drove almost halfway home with the windows down just trying to get them out of the inside of the car! Yuck!! Poor bug ( in, your son, bug) he has every right to be scared of those nasty flies...

(I love, love, love all of our pictures too. I'm so glad we kept up on that accidental tradition)

Love you!

Unknown said...

Agreed! Some of the best traditions are accidental!!!
And I have a feeling bug is going to have a very scary summer as it seems he is afraid of his nicknamesake.

Anonymous said...

Yuck! I remember when I had a delivery route and had to deliver by the lake...not fun.

Your pictures of the four of you guys is awesome, what great memories.

Your post is pretty sweet too!

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