Break out in the mosquito dance

By Steve Estes

As an area that has had so much rain in the last year we are approaching severe soaked status, there seems to be a direct correlation on our resident mosquito population.

With all this rain there must be forgotten pools of water lying about willy nilly all over these islands. Of course, we all remember the last time we were inundated often and early.

I’ve always thought there had to be still, un-fresh water supplies somewhere to permit mosquitoes to breed.

And I guess I thought right.

The uptick in mosquitoes, at least in our neighborhood, has been noticeable the last two weeks. Leaving a car window down to allow heat to escape is an open invitation for dozens of mosquitoes to take up residency inside and feast on driver and passenger at their leisure.

I am also seeing something this year that I hadn’t seen in the recent past. I am seeing a resurgence of the old mosquito slap dance.

This is a dance for which there are no formal steps, no formal rhythm, and no background of any kind is required, either visual or auditory.

No background, that is, unless you count the constant buzzing noise created by the mosquitoes themselves as they fly around our heads waiting for that just right moment to dive in and settle on a blood vessel near the skin’s surface and begin sucking out the blood.

This dance can be done from a sitting position. It can be done from a standing position. Heck, it can be done from a prone position.

It can involve any particular area of the body, any particular appendage, or all of them concurrently.

For instance, someone sitting outside on an unscreened porch can be seen turning the pages of a book, or staring into a laptop computer screen and their hands will periodically slap some part of their body trying to smash a mosquito. Or their head will viciously shake back and forth. Or they will shake a leg, or a foot, or a hand, all trying to get the biting mosquito to depart before serious damage is done.

Sometimes this motion comes with a follow on wiping of the hand on a piece of clothing to clean off the mosquito guts.

Or, another for instance: someone is standing outside trying to get reception on a cell phone and after a few moments they begin to alternately shake various parts of the body while slapping at other parts with the free hand trying again to get the biting mosquitoes to depart, or crushing them.

Those who wear light-weight shirts with long sleeves are often seen doing the one-legged itch dance.

This is where you are involved in something that forces you to stand in one general spot while the mosquitoes attack your uncovered legs. You alternately raise one leg then the other to scratch the other leg that has been most recently bitten.

And then there is the two-person bug slap tango. This is an intricate maneuver that occurs when two people, usually friendly, are in close proximity to one another, talking to one another while actually looking at one another.

As the conversation progresses, first one person, then the other person, will reach out and gently slap the other trying to kill the mosquito that has just landed before it can draw blood. Sometimes this is followed by the hand wiping on the clothes move when the slap is late and blood has been drawn.

This takes a very special kind of concentration because if the offending bug is close to the eyes, you can’t just reach out and slap it for fear of initiating a black eye. You can’t slap the nose at all because causing tears if you hit too hard is hard to explain later.

Unless you’re really close emotionally to your partner in the tango, you must always be aware of what body part is the target for the slap, for a lack of thought in reaching out and slapping a female on the bosoms can result in a resounding slap back that isn’t measured and controlled.

And then, there is the group bug slap chorus line. This occurs when three or more folks gather in a tight circle to talk outdoors and a swarm of mosquitoes rush in for the feast.

It’s hard to follow this particular cultural phenomenon because the folks involved might all be friends, or not even know each other and it is considered very bad form to smack someone on the face with whom you are not acquainted.

It is even worse form to smack someone on the buttocks with whom you are not even acquainted, although it might be a good way to become so.

One should never perform the sneak-up-from-behind-and-whale-at-mosquitoes dance. First, the surprise element will probably get you decked, and second, the person you are smacking at might not be the one you thought you recognized from the back side.

This one has been known to cause melees to break out.

Oh, and one more: the mosquito spray human art dance. You can perform this on yourself, winding yourself into heretofore unknown positions trying to spray every exposed surface, or can be performed on any number of other folks.

Be careful of the dreaded facial spray, however. It’s always a good idea to warn other folks before using the facial spray move.

As for me, I need to go perform the mosquito spray human art dance.

Slap, slap, slap.

Too late. Time to do the slap dance first.

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