Going West — cicadas not welcome

Posted by barb on May 29, 2004 in Random Thoughts |

Tomorrow I’ll be leaving for Denver to man the Constellation-X booth at the American Astronomical Society Meeting. I hate traveling. I especially hate traveling for business. People have said, “Oh, Denver. That should be nice.” Well, yeah, if there was any chance of actually seeing any of Denver. However, I will be at the Constellation-X booth from 8 AM until 5 PM every day. I’ll be tired and cranky after that, and will likely just crash in my room with some crappy food from the hotel lobby.

There is one thing I’m happy about, though. Denver will not have the Brood X cicadas. Oh happy day.

I think I’ve mentioned that I don’t do well with bugs.

I work in a trailer without running water, so when I need to use the bathroom, I have to walk the 50 feet into the nearby building. For the past week, every time I step outside the trailer, I assume the bug-stance, which consists of tighening my shoulders, clenching my fists, and a determined look.

I then proceed to the building doing the cicada-walk. This consists of dodging the cicada bodies strewn about the parking lot. Some of them are dead and squooshed, but several are alive and crawling around. A few are alive and just sitting there, waiting for some unsuspecting person to walk by before they fly up into said person’s face. In addition, the walk also entails a continuous sweep of the sky for flying cicadas. When one is approaching, then the walk turns into a dip, twirl or quick-step, whichever will most effectively avoid the cicada.

Of course, it is not possible to watch all of the sky at once, and watch the ground to avoid bug guts, so an occasional cicada gets through. One time this past week, I was happily doing the cicada walk, when I felt a pin-prick on my arm. I turned to see a cicada perched on my sleeve. This brought on the cicada-dance.

The cicada-dance consists of vigorously wiggling whatever body part the cicada has landed on. Of course, this doesn’t acutally dislodge the cicada (they withstand a significant wind-force*). So the dance then turns into a slow-dance, where the dancer becomes as calm as they can muster, grabs the fabric of the garment the cicada has attached to, and shakes it more vigorously than possible when doing the fast-dance portion of the cicada-dance.

Of course, doing the cicada-dance makes one look like a complete moron.

I won’t miss the cicadas.

*My coworker, JD, came out to his car one morning to find three cicadas attached at various places. One was on the thingy-m-bobby where the windshield fluid comes out, so JD could see how long he lasted. Apparently he held on for a while, even with the car going 70 mph down the BW Parkway.

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