I’ve been thinking about mosquitoes lately, in particular mosquito bites. Because mosquitoes, or mozzies as the Aussies say, wouldn’t be a big deal if they didn’t bite us, would they? They’re an important link in the food chain, bird and bat food, blah blah, but they’ve been especially hungry at our house this summer, at least for me. Of course, I have been known to receive mosquito bites in January. Some valiant survivor will make a special effort to find me, and light upon a juicy thigh, chock full of delicious O-negative blood. They love me as much as the blood center, (or “the Vampires,” as Joe and I call them), only the mozzies don’t have the courtesy to call or send an email for a donation. I’m just a free meal, an all you can eat buffet. The mosquitoes leave hobo signs on our fence: Especially Scrumptious Woman here. I’m a mozzie fantasy come true.When I was about two my family lived here in Washington State, and went on a camping trip to Marblemount. I was all bundled up, no doubt doused in some vile bug repellent currently banned in 48 states, absorbed in assembling mud pies on the river bank; surely a sign of my future love of cooking. I can just picture the mosquitoes non-challantly buzzing about their business, when suddenly they get a whiff of innocent, slow-moving, pure-white, practically glowing, dumpling child. Cue the angelic choir. Ring the dinner bell, boyzzzzzzz!
I got a single bite, on my forehead, and went crying to my mother. Apparently, the story goes, both of my eyes swelled shut from the bite, I was unable to open them, and I was rushed to a hospital. Diagnosis: allergic to mosquito bites. Like, who isn’t?
As I understand it, when the little buggers bite, they spit saliva on you to numb the area they’ve targeted so you don’t know when you get bit until it’s too late. Like drooling ninjas. Well, it turns out humans are allergic to the mozzie drool, so histamines are released in your body to come to the rescue, repairing damaged cells or something, and that’s what makes you itch. Thanks for nothing histamines!
As I write this I crave anti-histamines to calm the constant itch nagging at my back, just out of hand’s reach – these guitar-calloused fingertips would be a perfect scratching tool! – where two ginormous bites swell, like two misplaced elbows freakishly poking up below my shoulder blade. I am a living Picasso. Joe, my ultimate back-scratcher, refuses to help me. If I hear one more time that “scratching will just make it worse” I might have to strip him of his title of Best Husband in the World. Do I have to tell him the two-year-old Lori in Marblemount story again?!? I’ve turned into a she-bear trying for relief by rubbing my back up and down doorframes. The handles of long spoons, the little tiny hand back-scratcher that’s never to be found in the same place twice, these are my friends – mozzies? Not so much. Bat food or not.