Thursday, May 05, 2016

She Has That Sweet Blood

At a rest stop along Oregon I-5, somewhere between Eugene and Roseburg, Zoë and I took a short break.  We have a pattern at rest stops.  I open the sunroof for air (the screen gives protection from the sun), remind Zoë that I'll be a moment and then I will come get her.  I then rush off to the facilities, return to the car, and take her out for a little walk.  She always pops her head up to watch me over the carbed edge as we go through this process.  After a little walk-about, she gets back into the car and we take off.  No reason to dawdle along the way.  We can stretch and walk it off before we get back in and go.

So the same routine happened at this rest stop.  I pulled into a parking slot, reminded Zoë of our deal, rushed over to the bathrooms, returned and took the pup for her walk.  This stop had a rather barren Pet Area. It was set among the trees, but there was no grass; just sawdust and weeds. It had the required wood hydrant and a sign that held baggies, if needed. Now, Zoë is truly a dog, even if there are times she would love to be a cat.  And as a dog, she needs to find just the exact right spot to pee.  She has to see if any of her buddies have been there and, if not, who has come along.  Meanwhile, I find myself swatting at bugs.  I finally looked at one.  A mosquito.  Lots of mosquitoes.

As we are walking back to the car, I mindlessly scratch as my neck...the other shoulder.  Good heavens I was nipped at all over.

My dad and grandfather build the house in which my sister and I grew up.  
They built it back from the road so it had a long driveway and deep front yard.  It was sitting on a quarter acre, so the back of the lot was plenty large, also.  All that grass in the front made it great for playing games, kicking high on the swing set (my father also built), and in summer sleeping outside on cots.  Oh that was the best!  Sometimes it would be my sister and me.  Sometimes it would be friends, neighbors, cousins.  Sleeping outside was the best.

The washing machine dumped it's water down a trench along the side of the house, to disperse the water out into the yard.  There was a hedge that hid the trench.  It was often wet-ish from the laundry and that made the hedge and trench a haven for a mosquito village.  So every morning we woke up after sleeping outside, some of us would be nicely bitten all over our faces and arms.  And we had to count them.  "I have 15 bites!"  "Ha! I have 19!"  "I only have five."  "I won!  I have 28 bites!"  I usually won.

"One in 10 people are highly attractive to mosquitoes," reports Jerry Butler, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Florida. (WebMD)  They used to say I had "that sweet blood" and I thought that made me somehow special.  Now I know that it isn't blood itself that attracts mosquitoes.  It's largely about genetics, but in addition there are other things.  Cholesterol on the skin, carbon dioxide, other things like that to attracts the great sniffers of the mosquitoes.  My younger son has my same sweet blood.  We would probably tie in a bite-counting contest.

As I continue to mindlessly scratch my bites, I still like to think that I'm somehow special with that sweet blood.  I mean, if I have to scratch and be annoyed, I might as well be special because of it, right?  *SLAP*  Missed.  Damn.



Island Woman MJ said...

I too have that sweet blood. I think people who sit with me are so glad I'm special because I always ' win'! Great story.

Linda Schuh said...

That isn't what you want with the Zika virus that these blood suckers are carrying with them. Don't forget that repellent. Most of the states in the USA now have those mosquitoes that are biting and transmitting this disease. Beware the things that we pushed off as children can kill us as mature citizens.

rwk1950 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rwk1950 said...

I guess my blood must be sour. I think I maybe have had four mosquito bites since we moved to California in 1959. Now, the mosquitoes in Connecticut are a different type of bug, they love me.