Growing up in Arizona we had cicadas all the time. I never minded them. I liked hearing them at night. I’d crank open my window and let the warm, blanket soft air float in, listening to them while I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the insects and the feel of the night.
When I was young the boys in the neighborhood would pull the empty cicada shells off the trees and chase the girls with the now useless exoskeleton while we ran and squealed. I think some of the girls ran and squealed in a girlish attempt to impress the boys with their fragile femininity: “Oh no! Help me!” Then the boys would feel strong and masculine and quit chasing them and tease them instead. I missed that gene, however, and truly did not want to be chased by boys with dead insect exoskeletons. Like lions in the wild, sensing the weakness of their prey, the boys immediately understood on some instinctual level that I wasn’t playing the game and I wasn’t going to be any good to flirt with. They were right, as I’ve never managed to eyelash my way out of a ticket or into a parking space or any other thing. I’ve decided to feel proud that I don’t fall back onto feminine wiles rather than embarrassed I’m unable to.
Cicada exoskeleton, my house, 8.12.12
The weather has been unusually conducive to cicada reproduction in the mid-south this year. We’ve had an explosion of vacationing cicada cacophony followed a few days later with their discarded RV’s left clinging to tree trunks and decks.
Now I’m an adult I have no problem with that. There’s no actual insect inside the shell. To help both of you understand how much creepy crawlies are a problem for me, I once had the hubs (forced the hubs with increasingly shrill insistence over the phone while he tried to convince me he has a job and NEEDS TO DO IT) to come home to remove a tick from one of the children. Honestly. I think if someone got fired because they went home to get a tick off their own kid they could probably sue someone. Don’t you?
My attitude toward bugs is: You leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone. What bugs me is they never do. They throw themselves repeatedly against the light bulb or the ceiling or the screened window. Look, you idiot, quit bugging me and I won’t squash you flat while screaming like a Castrato.
Yesterday morning was the first 5 miler in the Road Race Series. While I’ve never liked this horribly hot, steamy, sunny, humid, hilly, soul-sucking run, it was FIFTY SEVEN DEGREES when I woke. Let me repeat that, as I’m sure you are incredulous to learn that the weather in Memphis in August could be anything less than OMG I CAN’T BREATHE and are probably thinking I’ve gone off my meds again: it was 57 DEGREES.
Miles run last week prior to Sunday: 3
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. I only ran three miles last week and during that time my butt did not try to fall off. I see no connection. Throwing caution to the wind I decided to do the course prior to the race with my friend “Becky” and her training partner “Anne” and then run the race for a total of ten miles. I’m tired of sitting on my not-currently-falling-off-butt doing nothing but torturing myself with a miraculous raquet ball. Probably it’s a good thing to fall completely off your training and then do 10 miles. We were going to go slow and take it easy. Certainly that counts for something?
So we were trotting along, minding our own business, not out to do any harm when suddenly and directly behind my foot a cicada in the last throes of its miserable life took revenge on the world by screaming shrilly and slamming itself against my foot. I took air like Michael Jordan with wings and screamed. “Becky and Anne” turned to see how close the zombie rapists were and saw the sad dying cicada skittering on the pavement while I jumped around hyperventilating, my heart pounding. Proof: you can still run while crying laughing. We finished the warmup run despite being half-heartedly threatened again by several more; none of them had the energy or desire for revenge which the first had, but you can darn skippy bet I was dancing on that course avoiding them while “Becky and Anne” laughed each time they saw one in the road. Laugh away, hahahaha, you idjits. Just wait. The cicadas are out there and they have your number. I know because I gave it to them and the zombies. bwaaaahahaha.
Cicada seeing me on the 5-miler course. Again I say, laugh away hahaha “Becky and Anne”.
I don’t know if the shock to my heart and rapidly increased heart rate had anything to do with it, but despite not training for most of the past four weeks (and having firmly promised myself and many others that I wasn’t going to) the adrenaline kicked in when the race started and I took off trying to race it. I’m out of shape (again), I’ve lost conditioning (again) and I’m going to start building back up (again) but I was pleased at the end of the race to find I’m still currently in fourth place. We’ll see. I want to place, but I want more to keep running. For a long time. I want to be that 80-year-old lady.
At Ihop after the race my hamstrings spasmed up so bad I couldn’t talk, just sat there bug-eyed trying to breathe while my legs shot out in front of me with a life of their own. Everyone around encouraged me in my pain, sharing stories of their quads, hammies and calves all cramping up at the same time. Bunch of nutjob runners, if we can’t outrun each other we can, by damn, out-cramp each other.