My friend spun around to see what was wrong.
There’s a tick in my hair! Aaaaarrrggghhhhhh!
My friend smiled. She is very cool about these things. When she finds them on her legs or arms, she calmly pinches them between her fingers, then walks over to show me before pitching them underfoot. It grosses me out every single time.
I can’t abide ticks.
I can tolerate mosquitoes, gnats, midges, black flies in spring. I am fine with spiders and snakes and the occasional centipede undulating across the driveway. Black bears cross our back yard and have even climbed onto the second floor of our deck. Deer graze in the corner near the woods. I am 100% nature girl. Ask anybody.
But ticks totally skeeve me. I am grossed out by the VERY IDEA of some sneaky insect plunging its entire head into my body, wherever the heck it wants and sucking my life blood out of me. And to think its entire body gets so engorged that it blows up like a cartoon character eating too much makes me want to retch. High grass? Think ticks. There is a thousand in every crowd.
Years ago, when Ken and I were dating, he helped me out one afternoon by walking my dog. (I had been out hiking with her the day before. He called me from my apartment.
“Your dog has, like, raisins all around her neck.”
“Yes. They’re like raisins.”
Oh no. Raisins on your dog means only one thing.
Engorged ticks. In my apartment.
Well, to make a long story short, I took care of her. I pulled out each one of those M….. F…ers. She got the bath of her life. I almost vacuumed the carpet clear off the floor. But there were no more ticks.
The problem is: I love to go out birding. Time spent in the woods is holy; it is my private access trail to myself. I am constantly at war with myself between my aversion to ticks and my love of birds and the natural world. Because, face it, if you are going to look at birds, you have to go where the birds are. And where the birds are, are also where the ticks are, in abundance. It’s a fragile balance, but the the birds get me every time.
But please, please, watch out for ticks. And if you see one on me, have mercy.