The drone of the mosquito truck is one of the eeriest sounds of summer.
On hot, sticky nights, you can hear mosquito trucks chugging down the streets spraying their fog of pesticide. They sound like a monstrous mix of a very slow tank and an ordinary street cleaner.
My heart always accelerates with fear when I hear them.
But not all fear the pesticide.
In Jill McCorkle’s short story, “Billy Goats,” children chase the mosquito truck on bicycles. Apparently this was common in the ’50s and ’60s.
We popped wheelies in pursuit of the mosquito truck, which was a guarantee on humid summer nights. We rode behind the big gray truck, our laughter and screams lost in the grinding whir of machinery, our vision blurred by the cloud of poison.
Actually, I never saw or heard a mosquito truck when I was growing up in Iowa City. Perhaps too many people spoke up against pesticides.
They do spray in this city, though.
During drought summers, I sit outside and read. This wet summer, the mosquitoes are dive-bombing.
The mosquitoes spread disease, so I suppose the spraying is necessary. I am quite sure we could not walk in the woods if they didn’t spray.
But I hate it.
Recently we put up a “bug house” so we could sit outside and not worry about the mosquitoes. Actually, it’s called a screen tent.
I don’t sit there much. I don’t like looking at the yard through the screen. And the bugs follow me in anyway.
Still, the bug house is a part of summer.
The other day I came home from the store after a fuck-up with a coupon–the purchase had to be rung up twice, and it involved three people–and THE BUG HOUSE WAS GONE.
Who stole our bug house?
I told my husband about it.
He took it down to mow the lawn.
It’s better to have a bug house than not to have one.