After our interesting yet ultimately soul-sucking two years in the deserts of the Middle East the thing I was most looking forward to in Panama was the life. The green plants, the fruits and vegetables that thrive in a year round growing season, the birds, and all of the other creatures that live in the highlands of Boquete were such a draw for me and I was terribly excited.
But then I realized that, while nature is cool and all, this shit can and can and will try to kill me,
I wasn’t prepared for the bugs.
These things are terrifying in their numbers and even more terrifying in their singular mission to invade my house. I am constantly waging war against moths, june bugs, ants, fruit flies, regular flies, wasps, and even a damn slug that I found on the kitchen floor one night. I know that slugs are not bugs but whatever. If you creep me out then you get lumped in with all the other creepies.
Sorry, slug. At least I just swept you out with the broom when I could have gone for the salt. Consider yourself lucky.
There are the leaf cutter ants that march proudly by the light of the moon and stars and systematically tear apart the leaves of my plants. They seem to prefer the flowering plants, so I’ve given up on having anything that blooms in my yard. I’ll sometimes sit on my steps in the evening, armed with the bottle of bleachy kitchen spray and shoot streams of death at them as they saunter by, the petals of my flowers in their evil mouths.
While I’ve never really paid much attention to moths in the past they’re hard to ignore here in Boquete. They’re everywhere and they only want to flap their wings in my face. There seems to be some weird subsect of moth behavior happening here, and those bitches think they’re people. I even had one who repeatedly insisted on landing in my hair. I finally escaped her advances and retreated to the house, only to come back out in the morning to find her laying eggs on our porch stool. I’ve never seen a moth lay eggs before, and I hope it never happens again. I’m all for the propagation of species, but that was too much. I mean, this moth had her lady parts on my head just the night before!
Hordes of little red ants have decided that the electrical outlets on the outside of the house are the perfect nesting sites. I watched a herd of them move their eggs from their underground lair and march across the patio and squeeze under the electrical outlet cover. When I decided to investigate further and lifted the cover I backed away in disgust. There were thousands and thousands of them and they just poured out, eggs in their tiny jaws and the queen scampering away, desperate for cover. I called the landlord, concerned that the ants would somehow destroy the wiring in the house. He was unfazed.
I thought that I’d become desensitized to all of these things, then today happened. I was sitting out on the porch, looking at the tree like I’ve done every day for the four months that we’ve lived here, and I saw this.
What the hell is that! I mean, really, what is that? I’m feeling pretty fragile right now and I’m not sure I can go on. Sometimes I feel like I’m existing in some alternate universe, and the bugs are the overlords and I’ll soon be enslaved. I imagine that this might entail knitting tiny sweaters for them and drinking lots of beer so that they can swarm the empty cans and get drunk on the leavings, and their power.
I’m not really sure how much more I can take.