Evidently, our omnipresent red clay just ain’t good enough, and so we are now importing dust. A 4,000-mile-long plume, whipped up by storms across the Saharan desert, visible from space, is now heading to the Southeastern coast of the U.S. The particles, flung high into the atmosphere, are said to result in spectacular sunsets and a rush on inhalers.
But, of course. Let’s just pile this sucker on top of the heap of 2020, along with a trashed economy, global protests for equality and a virus that’s playing Whack-a-Mole as it spikes dangerously across the country. Nervous joking about, “What next, locusts?” died out quickly when it was reported that, indeed, a plague of locusts swarming in record numbers in East Africa and West Asia was making life miserable for millions.
Here in the South, we’re seeing, and, boy, are we hearing, billions of cicadas as they emerge from underground for their once-in-every 17 years mating season. Of course they’re loud. They haven’t seen any action in 17 years. This is spring break for these enormous, orange, bug-eyed insects. They bark their distinctive, repetitive chirp to attract the ladies. And for the ladies, it’s emerging from their underground burrows to walk past an endless construction sight with the catcalls and cheesy come-on lines one would expect:
“Yo, Babehhh! Your twig or mine?”
“Do fries come with that shake?”
And get this: You can thank me by mailing me the gift card of your choice. The next time you’re looking to break the ice at a cocktail party or barbecue, you can impress all and sundry with this information gleaned from the book, “Bug Music”:
“Exactly one-third of one second after the male’s song ceases, a female responds with a click of her wings — but only if she wishes him to make further advances. The male counters with the same call, hoping to hear another wing click. If he does, he makes two particular sounds in quick succession, waits for a third wing click and then vibrates his forelegs … as he then lowers the light, moves in and murmurs softly (this part is from me, NOT from the book) ’No, seriously, I just want to hold you.’”
I wonder how many females give off two clicks, then, with a look of disdain, say to her desperate suitor, “Sorry, I’m looking for something higher up in the food chain. See ya.”
As the summer quite literally hums along with this nonstop chorus, I tried to put a positive spin on all that has befallen us this year by doing a bit of online research on what we might expect for the rest of the year. Surely things will get better, right? And then Lucy not only jerked the football away but kicked me in the teeth.
From the website theconversation.com under the heading “History repeats itself” and, shockingly, published Jan. 2, 2020:
“Here are some big-picture predictions: stagnant real wages, faltering standard of living for the lower and middle classes, more riots and uprisings, ongoing political polarization, more elites competing for limited positions of power, and elites co-opting radical movements…There is also a low to moderate chance of a ’trigger event’ — a shock like an environmental crisis, plague or economic meltdown — that will kick off a period of extreme violence.”
O.K. I’m done. I think I’m going to start looking at real estate. Particularly places underground with 17 year leases.