Here in my home state of North Carolina, we’re accustomed to the sweaty dread that comes with the annual announcement that it’s almost hurricane season. This is the kind of state where no one seems to find it odd to host a hurricane expo with light refreshments – as though anyone would be in the mood for lemon thins after a rousing talk about the distinct possibility of deadly weather.
But then, it is the South and we tend to mark every occasion with food, no matter how terrifying. I have personally witnessed mourners idly gnawing on chicken drummettes while looking at a body laid out in a casket in the living room. Comfort food indeed.
That said, the latest fearful prediction for our state has completely destroyed my appetite. In numerous news accounts, each more alarming than the one before it, we are told that 2013 is the summer of the SEVENTEEN YEAR CICADA.
Entomologists say characteristics include big, black and orange bodies, bulging red eyes and a distinct “whee-oh, whee-oh” mating call coupled with line dancing moves. But enough about my ex. Let’s talk about the SEVENTEEN YEAR CICADA. I have to type it like that because it is so terrifying to think that these noisy fornicators are going to swarm for a “month-long mating spree” that extends from my state as far north as New York this summer.
When they arrive, they will be so loud that it will sound “like a spaceship landing in your back yard,” predicted one entomologist, who added that you’ll know they’re here just by driving with your windows down.
Note to self: Glue car windows shut.
The cicadas are so noisy that a Washington, D.C., bug expert noted that they completely drown out beltway traffic once they INVADE.
So how many are we expecting to host here on the East Coast this summer?
Billions, with a B. They will emerge from underground to “date, mate and die” all in less than four weeks. Meanwhile, the dowdy regular cicadas that are here all the time can only hiss among themselves about all the action the new kids are getting.
“Sure, they’re flashy and all, but at the end of the day, we’re not going anywhere except sticking to the side of this tree and blending in just like we always have and always will,” said longtime resident of my back yard, Eunice Cicada. In my imagination.
And like hurricanes, there’s nothing we humans can do to stop this invasion. They will crawl out from underground where they have been hiding for almost two decades, much like those people who still pine for a Wham! reunion.
My only encounter with cicadas is when I mow the yard and run into a creepy carcass. They are huge insects, so huge that people in some parts of the world actually eat them, preferring the females because they’re “meatier.”
Or as Eunice would prefer, “big boned.”