Monday, July 31, 2006

Fossilized Turds, Mosquito Bites, and an Ultimatum

As soon as I got out of the van at high noon in Rhode Island and almost immediately started itching my back from the two mosquito bites, I remembered why I live in the city. I hate bugs that bite, vermin that scurry, animals that are not on leashes and accompanied by a responsible adult. Why were mosquitoes out at noon? It was sunny and blazingly hot on Saturday, and my hungover ass, along with Missy and Steph, were at the beach. We'd driven around Narragansett in the minivan for half an hour, scouring for a parking spot on Route 1A. Missy and I lamented the fact that no one in Rhode Island can parallel park a car, since if a few cars had simply scooted forward the extra foot we could have easily parked the giant minivan. Instead, we drove down a side street that didn't forbid out-of-towners from parking, parked in a ditch, and began the mile-long hike to the beach.

It was worth it. The sun was hot, without a cloud or any haze to obstruct its rays from us. The waves were big, the water was cool but not numbing. The beach was crowded like the one in that Dunkin Donuts commercial, but we sat away from the water and had sand kicked on us only once. Missy had brought her radio, and we sat and people watched. Most of the people who visit Naragansett Town Beach are young, but I didn't realize how young. One girl, who had tanned her skin to an unnatural brown, walked by us wearing a Corona triangle bikini top and high-cut bottom. The three of us looked at each other.

"That's a tacky bathing suit," Steph said.

"She also doesn't look old enough to drink, so how is she wearing that?" Missy remarked.

"My Mom would have slapped me silly if I tried to leave the house like that. I think she still would," I clucked. My transformation into an old woman was complete.

We stayed at the beach until Missy feared getting a rash from the sun exposure. We packed up our things, shook the sand from our towels, and started the long walk back to the van. I got another two mosquito bites on the way, and we piled into the hot van to head to my aunt's house for a birthday cookout. My uncle's family has a small shack on a pond in Rhode Island, so what was going to be just cake at my grandmother's house turned into hot dogs and cake at my grandmother's house, which turned into an entire cookout at my aunt and uncle's shack. Knowing that dusk on a pond leads to massive clouds of mosquitoes and horse flies, we sprayed ourselves down with bug spray. It didn't really help. After we ate dinner, we piled back onto the screened in porch to avoid the bugs. My uncle lit a campfire, and my grandmother called for us to come back outside since the huge fire had incinerated all the bugs. It had not. While I opened my gifts, I swatted bugs. Beetles of some kind flew into my ears. I picked a bug out of the hair at the nape of my neck. Stephanie jumped a mile as a prehistoric-looking june bug an inch long crawled across her bare toe.

"You aren't really from New Hampshire, are you?" My grandmother asked, bemused by our panic.

We left early since we were exhausted and needed to drive back to Boston. I stomped over to the van, hoping that any furry wildlife waiting to pick through the trash would scare off. We got in and drove back. After dropping Missy and Steph off, I parked at the people I babysit for's house and decided that it was early enough and I should change the kitty litter, which was my only task for while they were away. I opened the door, petted the starved-for-attention felines, and went to the back stairs to change the litter.

Unfortunately, the cats had pooped all over the back staircase, in protest of their loneliness and dirty litterbox. Sighing, I grabbed the old slotted spoon and dustpan, slid the fossilized turds onto the dustpan, and threw them and the contents of the litterbox into the trash can. I tied up the bag, collected my things, and headed for the garbage cans behind the house. As I walked down the dark driveway, the image of the mother of the kids swam before me like a flashback in the movies, saying "We have skunks in the backyard." I opened my cell phone to toss off some light, rounded the corner of the house, and immediately saw something furry between the plastic garbage cans. Not even stopping to see what it was, I let out a "yeep" (trying my best not to scare their elderly neighbors-- it was 11:30) and high-tailed it back up the driveway, still holding the bag of stinky litter and fossil turds. The cats looked at me like I was insane as I dropped the bag back into the trash can in the house and said, "Fuck that. I'll come back tomorrow and take it out."

Last night, on my way home from Alicia's house, I walked up my street. A couple was walking toward me. Suddenly they stopped, and I watched in horror as a huge rat ran in front of them, got scared, ran up the side of a building for about two feet, and tossed himself over a wrought-iron fence and back into a yard. The rat couldn't have been two feet away from the woman, but she just stopped moving, and didn't move to the side. I was about ten feet from the giant rat, and I was tempted to run across the street in terror. It is my great fear that when I take my trash out to the cans behind my building a rat or mouse will either crawl across my foot or bite my toes, and seeing rats running all over the place and doing Jackie Chan-caliber aerial stunts did nothing to calm my fears. I gathered my trash and didn't even make it to the cans. I just tossed it in the heap of trash at the corner of the building and ran back inside.

I swear to God, if I see ANY rats in my apartment when the weather gets cold, I will immediately begin packing my things. I can deal with the spiders that seem to plague me, but if anything so big I can't smoosh it moves in, I am done. For a girl raised in the country, I am no good with nature.

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