Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cicada Watch 2007

It has been predicted that the 17-year cicadas will make their appearance today, and thus I am officially on cicada watch. I can report that I did not see any cicadas on my way to work this morning.

I have been dreading this for years because I remember the Great Cicada Infestation of 1990. I lived in a small suburb west of the city, and let me tell you, they were everywhere, and it was disgusting.

My most vivid cicada memory is of walking from my mother's home to my father's home one morning. I didn't have my driver's license yet, and my mom could have dropped me off, but that meant getting up early during summer vacation, so I decided to walk. In my sleepy state I forgot about the cicadas outside.

Now, cicadas are harmless. I knew they wouldn't hurt me, but that didn't stop my 3/4-mile walk from being unpleasant. Cicadas were flying around everywhere. They were dropping from trees. They were hitting me in the head or nearly flying in my face the whole time, so I spent a lot of time ducking and swerving to avoid them. I'm sure people driving down the street probably thought I was on some sort of hallcinogenic drug. Many cicadas were on the ground, and when I stepped on them they made this horrible crunching sound, as if I was walking on popcorn. Oh, and the noise. I was walking through a residential neighborhood on a quiet street with little traffic, but I had to turn my walkman up to 11 in order to hear the music over the cicadas' mating calls.

It's now 17 years later, and I live in the city. I'm certainly hoping that there are fewer cicadas here than there were there. The walk from the 'L' to work is about a half mile, and the thought of dodging cicadas the whole way is really horrifying to me.

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