Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You get used to the bugs.

Upon arrival at the cabin each summer I am aware that it’s not insulated, and that regardless of any effort to the contrary, Herculean as it may be, there will always be spider webs up in the rafters and strung between any two objects left undisturbed for more than a day or so. There will be earwigs and green bugs found on furniture or walls or crawling over the floor now and again. On still evenings, there will be countless moths and other night bugs on the window screens, the tiniest of which will figure a way indoors and flutter madly around the bare-bulb lights in the crossbeams. You are almost certain to find a small, multi-legged friend in the bathtub each morning when leaning in to turn on the shower, and it’s not at all uncommon to see a daddy longlegs scooting from the stack of logs by the fireplace as someone reaches to add more fuel to the fire on the hearth.

There was a period in my life when I absolutely could not abide these unwelcome guests in the cabin. I remember being unable to sleep, feeling as if there was some bug crawling on me at all times. I hated the idea of sleeping in a place where, like as not, some hungry jumping spider would visit me in the night to snack on my blood, leaving an itchy welt as a tip. I am not certain that it was solely due to the inevitable bugs in such a rustic setting, but for a few years, the very thought of the cabin raised considerable anxiety in me and, as my husband wasn’t willing to spend all his vacation time in the same place every year, I simply didn’t go. I am happy to report that either age or experience or copious amounts of Prozac eliminated the unfounded anxiety and in 2002, I began taking the next generation to this earthly paradise each summer, with or without my husband.

Now, I believe I can say with some tranquility, I am resigned to sharing the cabin with those possessing four, six or even dozens more legs than I. Just this morning I moved one of the little wooden footstools across the living room without even bothering to turn it over and check for stowaways. After just a few hours in the cabin, the slight tickling sensation of tiny feet running across my skin results not in a paroxysm of revulsion, but a quick, decisive hand movement ending with a firm pressure on the affected area. Squish first, ask questions later.

I have even been known to allow spiders to build elaborate orb webs from the light fixtures, welcoming tiny eight-legged visitors—who are sometimes even given names, for goodness sake!—to drop down and watch a game of pinochle or hearts, so long as they don’t reveal the contents of my hand to my opponents. And when I step into the shower each morning, scanning the ceiling for loitering arachnids I’m as like as not to simply mutter, “As long as you stay up there, we don’t have a problem.”

Still, I’m not completely at peace with my cohabitants. I will check the ceiling of my bedroom each night and put an end to anything lurking above me. And as I mentioned, the sensation of being crawled upon will not be tolerated under any circumstances. But by and large I can enjoy the splendors of cabin life without constantly worrying about my ever-present invertebrate companions.