Added: Wed. May 02, 2012 10:08am
I originally published this a few years ago, but
given its May again and I recently got a new car, I thought it worth repeating.
It is is something I never experienced when I
lived "up North". It’s the
invasion of the lovebugs. They are also
known as the honeymoon flies, kissing bugs or double-headed bugs; it is the
Plecia nearctica. It appears twice year
here in Florida - in May and in September.
During its short life span, it mates for a few days before its demise,
even remaining coupled in flight.
They pose no health risk to humans as far as I
know, but they are a royal pain. During
those two months it is impossible to drive anywhere and not have the front of
your car covered with lovebugs who often suffer from a rather deadly form of
coitus interruptus. But this isn't a musing about lovebugs per se, but rather
I suspect I am like many new car owners. When I bought my current car, it was my baby,
requiring loving, tender car. It was
never going to see the inside of a car wash.
I couldn't bear the thought of subjecting it to those long, flopping
felt arms or, even worse, those whirling brushes that I was sure would peel
that beautiful, shiny paint job.
This car would have my eternal devotion; nothing
would be too good for it. Consequently,
I would wash it three to four times a week, using the softest sponges and
towels that I could find. This interior
received the same attention to detail. I
would vacuum every nook and cranny, thoroughly dust all parts and clean all
That is exactly what happened once again a few
months ago. I cleaned that car both
inside and out, sponges, towels, vacuum flying.
And when I was through, I would stand back and smile with pride and
joy. And a stubborn as those crushed
lovebugs were to remove, removed they were.
As I think back I can see that things in my
relationship with my car started to change after I owned it a few months. Those car washes three to four times a week
became one to two. That vacuuming that
went with every car wash now was less frequent.
If the carpeting was really dirty, I did it; if not, well the interior,
including windshield, side windows and rear windows could wait until next time.
Within a short period of time the car washes
only happened if the car was really dirty.
when the forecast called for rain, I held off. My rationale was that I was saving water
although I knew deep in my heart that wasn't true. The final straw was a few days ago, during
I had to take an eighty mile round trip down
Interstate 95. When I got home the front
of the car was completely covered with squashed lovebugs. I knew I had to do something but was in no
mood to spend a few hours cleaning those bugs off. I considered my relationship with my car carefully
and had to admit it was over. Much like
telling someone you were seriously dating that you wanted out of the
commitment, I ended my emotional attachment to the car.
The car had become simply the family car, a
means of transportation, something that had to be cleaned not because I cared
so much for it but rather because my pride wouldn't let me drive around in a
car that dirty - so I took it to the car wash.
It was one of those jiffy washes where you remain in the car as it goes
through the wash. As I sat there I
watched those floppy felt arms slap at the car, those whirling dervishes of
brushes scrubbing the bugs and dirt off.
And all I could think is well, thank God it will be clean.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa - I have
sinned. I have forsaken my dream
car. No man tore the relationship
asunder; it was those dammed lovebugs.
May they not rest in peace.