Tuesday, May 22, 2007


They are coming. There is nothing I can do about it but wait and be grossed out. People tell me not to be afraid, that they are harmless, fleeting. I can’t help it. They are disgusting, terrifying, and loud. They could be here any day. Yes, people, I am talking about the cicadas.

They are huge (1-2 inches) and loud (up to 106db) and super scary and gross looking. They burrow out from the ground and strive to climb as high as possible. In a city environment, that may only mean to the tops of blades of grass so be careful where you walk. The lucky ones that climb threes will have nice cozy spots to transition from the nymph to adult phase leaving gross molted cicada cases all over the place.

I am terrified. I realize that these creatures do not bite or sting or do anything particularly bad except make a loud noise and exist in large amounts. Many people I have talked to think I am overreacting. Last night, my Mom told me that they have to lie undisturbed in the ground for 17 years and that in my rapidly developing community it didn’t seem likely that much area would have been disturbed for that long. I told her they go deep and there are plenty of places that probably haven’t been disturbed. Lakeiya told me that she isn’t scared, just annoyed. She is always so gosh darned rational. She said if one landed on her she would be freaked out for about 15 seconds and get over it.

If one lands on me I will lose my mind. I will be afraid to go out for days after it happens. In fact, once I saw on the news this morning that they could appear any second I was afraid to go out. On my walk to work I looked down and looked up and listened carefully (to the Eagles of Death Metal because these things are so loud it doesn’t matter that I have headphones on) hoping and fearing catching sight of mounds of dirt resembling large ant hills or gross creatures clinging to plant surfaces. I didn’t see any but it doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

I am seriously thinking of walking around with an umbrella open on warm and sunny days to avoid a cicada or the molted skin of a cicada landing in my hair. Am I being extreme? Maybe, but look at these things.
EEEEEWWWWWWWW, disgusting.

Wish me luck.

1. Andy/ Would bicycle across town/ In the rain to bring you candy/ And John would buy the gown/ For you to wear to the prom/ With Tom/ The astronomer who’d name a star for you.

2. No words to say/ No words to convey/ This feeling inside/ I have for you. For You, Tracy Chapman. Identified by CSMC

3. Desmond has a barrel in the marketplace/ Molly is the singer in a band. Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, The Beatles. Identified by Jeff

4. Lime green lime green and tangerine/ The sickly sweet colors of the snakes I’ve seen. Wrong Number, The Cure. Identified by Brooke.

5. Girl close your eyes/ Let that rhythm get into you/ Don’t try to fight it/ There ain’t nothing that you can do. Rock With You, Michael Jackson. Identified by Brooke.


Jeff Roberts said...

#3: Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da (Beatles)

csmc said...

I remember being terrified of cicadas when I was a little girl in NYC (we don't have them in Seattle). I used to always think of them as giant roaches. You are right to be afraid. ;)

csmc said...

Oh and 2) is Tracy Chapman - Deeep in my heart da da da da Deeeep in my heart... I love that song. Can't remember the exact title though. Ergh.

Monica said...

I was SO scared of cicadas the last time they came out. I was afraid to go to bed at night and everything. You know what? I neither saw nor heard a single one that whole summer.

Kiyotoe said...

go with the umbrella Nat. None of those people that are telling you not to worry will be there when you're freaking out because one is taking a nap in your hair.

am i making this worse?


Mrs. Loquacious said...

Way to gross me out, Natalie. Those things are hideous!

I don't know if we have them up here. I can't say that I've ever seen one and I am pretty sure I'd remember if one landed on any part of me.

As a Creationist, I believe all bugs are a mutation of something beautiful that God created. I don't actually believe a good God could create ugly bugs for Paradise, so they must be some deformed version of a pretty butterfly or something.

Danielle said...

We get so many of them around these parts and find their dried husks attached to the tree trunks which my boys love to take off and crackle. My oldest is obsessed with rollie pollies, you know the bugs that roll into a ball. One day he brought a whole collection into the house and flipped out when I wouldn't let his new "pets" stay.

I learned of their 17 year hibernation from Planet Earth, it makes me wonder how many are beneath the earth since we see them every summer in such loud and large numbers.

The only bug that I despise are cockroaches, I had to live with large numbers of them when I was younger, and freak out even thinking of them.

Have you ever seen the movie Creep Show written by Steven King? If you have you know the scene I'm thinking of.


Now I have a case of the wiggles.

Be well, sweets.

CSG said...

there you go, move to Seattle!

Michael K said...

I was a gross little kid so I played with them and chased the girls in my neighborhood with them. I put a bunch of them in my sister's closet. She totally freaked out.

Natalie said...

Jeff- I think that makes two for you!

CSMC- Thank you for validating my fear. I'll totally give you that song.

Monica- Thank you for a valid reason why I should not be afraid. That is why I have a nerds rope to give you. Actually, that is not why but I still do.

Kiyotoe- I think you just want to hear about people making fun of my sunshine umbrella...wait if I call it a parasol I will be seen as a lady, awesome.

Mrs L.- The do have huge wings...maybe I can convince myself that they are meant to be butterflies and then I will feel better.

Danielle- Some come out every year, there is just a special 17yr variety that comes out rolling mad deep or something. Rollie Pollies are in A Bugs Life, they are ok.

CSG- I have been thinking about that.

Michael K- You are a bad person.

Brooke said...

I hate them too, friend. And Michael K. is gross and cruel.

4. Wrong Number - The Cure

5. Rock With You - Michael Jackson

Mom said...

I think the umbrella, plus Monica's reassurance that she didn't see any last time, will be the way to go. But use a yucky umbrella that you don't care about, in case you feel a need to throw it away after the summer.

And feel free to scream "bug-Bug-BUGGGGGG!" at the top of your lungs whenever necessary.

And never, never watch "The Hellstrom Chronicle."

notfearingchange said...

Gross...ummm...i would advise changing locations on a permanent basis... ;-P

With Love, Fat Girl said...

I always thought Cicada was such a nice name for something so heinous... it sounds more like a flower, don't you think?

And whle cicadas don't do anything for me personally, I shake in my boots at the sight of a millipede. You know, that disgusting bug with 10,000 legs that look like hair? Ugh, I'm getting all goose pimply just writing that out....

Wobbly*Bits said...

GROSS! I totally remember the last time they came too, 17 years ago or however many years it takes. I thought it was "cool" back then and would collect their shells. I have changed my ways.

Shoshana said...

Eeeek! I don't understand these new fangled things! How do I insert my comment after the actual SONG LYRIC? Do YOU insert it or do I?!? Let's just write letters and send them in the mail! WHy is this happening?!? Anyway, "The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side," Magnetic Fields--- SisterHEAD

Natalie said...

Brooke- I know right

Mom- I'm going to call you whenever I need to scream about bugs since you gave me such a hard time about them.

Notfearing- I think about that often but can't think of anywhere I really want to be.

WLFG- Those are also terrifying. Thanks for making me want to hurl.

Wobbly- Nice to see you! Things bothered me less when I was younger too. Kids can be stupid that way.

Head- HI!!! I have to put it up, you can't alter posts silly. I put it on the next one because I was publishing it as you commented.

CS said...

You're going to hate this, but I love the sound of cicadas. I lve the idea that they wait undergraound and then all know when to emerge 17 years later. And, I have to admit, I even like seeing those cicada husks on trees. They're like little bug ghosts. (Okay, go ahead and write me off as not normal - I'll understand.)

Lakeiya said...

So, after seeing the picture of the cicada molting, I now realize that if one of their molted skins falls/lands on me, it may take me at least a 1/2 an hour or so plus a fairly longish, cleansing shower to get over that. While I think the actual cicadas are a bit annoying, the molted skin, on the other hand, is kinda disgusting. ::grimaces::

Mom said...

Geez, Natalie, I thought I was being supportive...

That's OK, you can call me and scream about bugs any time you want.

Much love. And tell Lakeyia to get an umbrella too. I can just picture this Anti-Cicada Umbrella Brigade taking over the streets of Chicagoland...