June 06, 2005

remember tock?

had a little run-in with nature today.

i volunteered to help a random grad student with her field work. counting, tagging, etc. of a certain type of californian wild grass. it's been pretty much competed out of its natural ranges due to the introduction of other, faster-growing grasses. so i spent my day slogging through a field in a state park, counting flowering stalks. sort of enjoyable, actually, even though conservation biology is not my fav. i got to wear anti-snake shinguards and eat a sandwich while sitting in dirt. i realized little black beetles have an inordinate fondness for me and i got to beat landscaping into submission with a bit of pvc. saw the cutest little grey bunnies with white fluffy tails and pert little ears (i very nearly went "woodja woodja woodja" it was so cute) and red-tailed hawks and maybe a turkey vulture. i like nature.

had to wake up quite early. was halfway through my bowl of cereal when judi called that she was outside. drank ceral solids hurridly, turned off the billy idol music had been grooving to (mmm...bleached-blonde snarl attitude black leather 80's), grabbed indiana jones hat and ran out. turns out the park was right next to jason's (from last year) house. i mean, right next door to his impossibly posh little gated, fountained, landscaped neighborhood. that struck me as a bit odd in small-world way. was slogging through nettles and stabby grass right nearby, so half-expected to see him jogging past on isolated access road, trying desperately to exercise away death.

it was a bit overcast, thankfully, so it wasn't overly warm. still, slathered on gobs of coppertone, not trusting my nucleotide base repair capabilities, evidently. it got into my eyes and made me blink and burn for a bit. wore my lovely hat and had the urge to pose all day in typically outdoorsey shots - sideways, one leg bent, arm megestically resting on pvc walking stick as if it were royal sceptor, am image of explorer/naturalist/outdoorsey girl.

i thought i handled myself quite well, actually. not squeamish. dove right in to thistley plants without whimper. rolled in dirt. envisioned myself some sort of mountain lion predator crouching in tall grasses, waiting for prey. (which would be tall male, standing with his back to me. as hunter, i would pounce lithely, landing on his back. then i would gnaw on one of his ears for a bit in an obnoxious manner. ...i'm apparently not a particularly deadly predator.) pointed out interesting bugs. did not hate snakes (despite hat). all that good stuff.

was warned, when leaving, to shower and check clothes for ticks when i got back hone. got home. put up cheeky away message "showering to wash off the horrible sunblock. and possibly the ticks." undressing to shower, i saw something on my pants. not the pointy grass seeds i had been picking out of every article of clothing, including my shoelaces and remarkably, bra, all day, but a...gasp! horror!...tick!!

i sqealed and threw the pants (with tick) onto the floor and did "yucky" squirm, the likes of which are only seen danced on tabletops when 50's housewives spot mice. eventually, i worked up the courage to pick the pants up, as well as a little wad of toilet paper to dispatch the threat. but i couldn't find the tick! where'd it go? where'd it go? ew ew ew!! eventualy, saw it had crawled to the inside of the waistband and picked it up to crush it. squished, checked: not dead. squished, checked: not dead. damn resillent tick. freaked out a little. put down paper, started stabbing at it with my hard fingernails until i felt a pop. checked. thank god, dead tick. then i freaked out again. envisioned tick crawling from wreckage of toilet paper grave to suck my blood in my sleep. i threw it away in the kitchen trash. did another icky dance. freaked out about other, invisible ticks hiding in my clothing, dropped off of me onto all my possessions, lurking in wait to avenge their fallen comrade. ticks make me irrational.

flipped out and imed everybody with general "ewwwwwww!!!!!" sentiments. went to go "shower in scalding hot ddt and raid and then scrub off all my moles in tick paranoia." i was terrified that there were ticks hiding in my hair. so, i went back into my bathroom and beat the hell out of it, shaking my head like mad, scratching through it, clapping my hands on it to kill anything lurking (ew!) in my hair. then i showered.

soaped, shampooed and felt some hard foreign object caught in my hair. did another little yucky squealing dance and ran my head under very hot water for a good minute straight chanting "tick! tick! tick! tick!" like the dog in the phantom tollbooth. finally regained the sense to comb through my hair, during the execution of which, i lberated a very frightened pointy grass seed. not a tick. finished bathing, much relieved, after i assured myself there was nothing more sinister caught in my locks.

bundled up all my clothing and ran to do my laundry. get rid of any ticks not clever enough to crawl out of my dirty clothes and hide themselves against later attack. i'm still a bit jumpy, actually.

the thought of ticks gets me all squeamish. and frankly, i'm a bit disappointed no one was around to offer to check me for ticks. grooming me like an ape. we could make jane goodall jokes and have a good old laugh. ("i'll be jane and you can by my gorilla lover." "ours is the love that dare not speak its name." "hey! gorillas do not speak. they converse through an adapted form of american sign language; if you want to say something, just do it that way." ">gesture<" "oh, you damn, dirty ape. (rawr).") it would have earned anyone 5000 points in my esteem and diffused the horror of the previous half hour. but, sadly, no.


god those ticks are nasty. ugh!


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