In Italy, mosquitos are called “zanzare.” I learned that once and never forgot. In Spain, mosquitos are called “mosquitos.” You’d think that would be easy to remember, but it took me the better part of a year. Fly in Spanish is “mosca.” I think that added to my confusion.
|THERE ARE BUGS ON HIM.|
Anyway, I’m allergic to bee stings. Deathly allergic. I’m also allergic to other insect bites, but just locally (so far). And there may be some correlation between my allergy and my attractiveness to biting insects. I’m the perfect insect repellant — for everyone else in the vicinity. If I’m in a room with 10 people and one mosquito, the other 10 people will probably be safe. On the other side is San Geraldo, who can watch a mosquito bite him and have absolutely no reaction.
|PERFECT PLACE FOR THE FLEA CIRCUS.|
I swell and itch, sometimes for weeks. Spanish mosquitos seem to be a little less cruel to my immune system. I only swell and itch for days, not weeks. Fortunately, since leaving Connecticut in 1993, San Geraldo and I have not lived in environments with quite the abundance of mosquitos. Still, if there’s one around it’s bound to find me and only me. Lately I’ve been awakened during the night to find I’ve been scratching a new bite. Sometimes, there’s a little buzzing near my ear. But these Spanish mosquitos don’t seem to alight as readily and even the cats give up on catching them.
|THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN.|
Recently, I had a few sleepless nights in the company of a mosquito and, given my already dismal mood, I sure didn’t need to add lack-of-sleep to my reasons to be miserable. So now I’ve got some handy insect repellant bedside. The fragrance isn’t all that bad or all that strong. I’ve gone two days without a new mosquito bite. And, unlike the poor sand hound currently lounging on the nearby beach, I’m not home to an entire flea circus.
Another Old Story of the Saint
Our first summer living together, San Geraldo and I had an un-air-conditioned apartment in Beacon Hill, Boston. The window screens were old and frayed and not of much use. One night, San Geraldo awoke to the sound of a mosquito flying around the bedroom. In the heat — and as is my usual preference anyway — I was lying on top of the sheets totally nude. I was sound asleep. The always thoughtful (although perhaps not always thinking) San Geraldo did not want my sleep (nor my next two weeks) ruined by the mosquito, so, careful to not disturb my sleep, he got out of bed and retrieved the mosquito repellant (Deep Woods OFF!) from the bathroom. Without making a sound, he stood at the foot of the bed and sprayed.
The first ice-cold burst hit my bare butt. I yowled and flew straight into the air like some cartoon character. Once I landed, I turned to find San Geraldo still standing at the foot of the bed, still holding the can of spray aimed in my direction. He had the abashed expression of a four-year-old who didn’t mean to do it and had just learned a really valuable lesson.
“Oops?” was all he said.