CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Seventeen bugs died before I abandoned my original subject and started typing this column instead.
Ha! Two at once! Make that 19!
I hate bugs. Hate them with the -- dang it! I missed -- same searing hatred my husband reserves for small, screeching birds. Geoff's hatred results from once being trapped for weeks in a house with an ill-tempered parakeet. My hatred results from being a bug magnet all of my life.
Curses! Another one escaped my clapped hands of death.
I don't know if there's a difference between fruit flies and gnats, but whatever these are, they're driving me mad. They seem drawn to my eyes or, even worse, when I try to speak, a cloud of them heads for my mouth. Who cares if they're free protein? They're disgusting. And they tickle.
During a quick run to the kitchen, I complained about the gnats to my husband. Since he and I currently share our home's only working computer, I thought it seemed likely that he'd noticed the bugs. Unfortunately, Geoff suffers from a visual impairment that prevents him from being able to see dirt, empty ice cube trays, kitten-size dust balls -- and bugs.
Wanting a witness to the growing swarm in my office, I called for my kid. In that lightning fashion of hers (better tracked by calendar than stopwatch), by the time she stepped through the doorway, the whole extended gnat family was gone. Just like that. Poof.
"I don't see any bugs," she said.
"They probably died of old age," said I.
No sooner had she returned to her bedroom when the swarm returned. A dizzying cloud of tiny black bugs.