Friday, June 16, 2017

God's Gift to Maine

By all accounts Maine is lovely, earning the title America's Vacationland. There's no traffic and hardly any crime, certainly none requiring the average dog-walker to carry a can of pepper spray at night, my standard M.O. back in D.C. (I had a Miniature Schnauzer -- can you blame me?) Maine's local chickens, a huge segment of  the population, lay local eggs, making for yummy breakfasts at all the local diners. And while it took a few winters to get used to the relentless blizzards and inopportune power outages, eventually (and with a set of decent snow tires) I came to love them, with those February trips to Florida as a nice bonus.

So apparently God looked down and saw that the people of Maine were relatively happy, each one of them in possession of a regulation pair of Bean Boots and yellow rain slicker, several down comforters and one of those YETI mugs to keep their drinks warm while they're out chopping wood for the cozy home fires, and thought, "What's wrong with this picture?" And then He realized, "They've got it too good down there. Here, take this!" And with a flick of His wrist He threw down a nest of Browntail Moths right in the middle of Vacationland. The rest is calamine lotion history.

They're here now. Right outside. Everywhere. There is no escape.

Last night I got approximately one hour of sleep, which is pretty miraculous considering that every inch of my body was on fire, and not in a good way. The microscopic hairs of the Browntail are swirling around Freeport, and they are invisible, and they are insidious, and many of them are all over my skin despite my copious showering and paying the tree mob for protection in advance and wearing long pants and long sleeves and neck scarves and hats and doing all the other stuff you are advised to do to guard against them.  

Still, they found me, and I itch. Incredibly. Beyond any reasonable itching anyone should be expected to tolerate, making me cry out, and quoting the stricken Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, "Why me?" (I never understood why Nancy asked that question. If not her, then who? -- she was Tonya's biggest rival.)





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