Sunday, May 30, 2004

Cicadas -- Week 3

The noise continues ...

But it's not as loud this weekend as it was last weekend. Something new has been added, however

They're flying

Badly, I might add.

I Am Not An Entomologist, but here's what I think is happening:

  • I start walking down the street.
  • Male cicada sees something big approaching.
  • Thinks a bit:
    • It's big, it must be a tree.
    • It's quite, so there are no males there.
  • Bug heads straight for me.
  • At the last second, bug realizes I'm not a tree, and tries to veer off. Simultaneously,
  • I duck. Unfortunately, I'm ducking in the same direction he is.
  • I brush him off, he goes on to the next victim.

Not to mention the ones already on the trees, who have an annoying habit of sticking to the back of your neck when you brush aside the tree branch while mowing the lawn.

Although it's not as loud as last week, it was getting to me yesterday, so I took a walk to the newer neighborhood* across the road. Our neighborhood was built in the 1970s, and the builders did a pretty good job of saving the trees around the houses. As a result, 1987 Brood X's offspring survived to visit us this day. The neighbor's hood was built in the late 1980s and early 90s, and they pretty much bulldozed the area around the roads, though they did keep a lot of trees in the common green space. As a result, a lot of 2004 Brood X was done in at an early age.

The difference is pretty amazing. There, I hear cicadas in the distance. Here, I hear cicadas up close. There, I didn't see any cicada carcases in the street. Here, they're all over. There, I didn't get bumped by a single cicada. Getting there, I got smacked by several and almost threw my back out bending to get away from another one.

It was peaceful, I tell you.


*   I suppose I should explain what I mean by a "neighborhood" for those who don't know. US suburbia is divided into "neighborhoods," which is developer code for "we've managed to gather this big block of farmland which is more or less contiguous, and we're going to subdivide it." A neighborhood generally has a name like "Rolling Hills," "Faraway Farms," or "Eagles' Nest", which is supposed to make you think that you're far away from everything in some mythic, idyllic place, and ignore the reality that you're living with 40-500 families who had the same idea, and with whom you share the same aquifer, swimming pool, and septic field.
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