September 2nd, 2011



Well, August decided not to take its heat with it. The crickets are certainly happy about that. I hear them singing. I'm not especially happy about it, but then I'm pretty sure crickets don't sweat, and I do. There was a heavy haze today, and it's behaving like cloud cover and holding the heat in. It's likely to be hours before the night air gets chilly enough to let the house cool off.

Portia is insisting on staying outdoors. I'd like to emulate her, but every time I go out I get bitten by mosquitoes. We ought to be well past the peak mosquito season by now, but apparently somebody nearby has some standing water where the bugs can breed. Whoever it is, I hope bats colonize their attic.

At least the markets are having the lowest price of the season on beer this weekend, so I can drink up the rest of the last 30-pack I bought in mid August and not worry about running out. If I have to be sweaty and itchy, at least I can also be a bit drunk. Maybe it will put me to sleep, and I can dream of cool autumn breezes.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

This Bites

Early this morning I observed a rather grim insect drama. In the garage I heard a buzzing sound near the laundry appliances. I thought it might be something wrong with the timer on the washer or dryer, but the sound was coming from the area between the washer and the wall. On inspection, I saw that three daddy long-legs arachnids (technically they are not spiders) had taken up residence in the space, and one of them was dealing with a fly which had been snared by its web. It looked like the fly was about to be envenomed, and it was buzzing furiously.

As I watched, the fly suddenly came loose from the arachnid's web, but it didn't fly away. Instead, it dropped straight down and was caught in a lower web, and hung there a mere quarter inch from another daddy long-legs, even bigger than the one it had just escaped. I didn't watch any more of the drama, but when I returned a few minutes later the fly was still and the buzzing had stopped. I don't know if the spider had finished sucking the juices from the husk, or if the fly was in a venom-induced stupor, but either way it wasn't going anywhere.

I felt a bit bad for the fly, but happy for the arachnid who caught it, and a bit sad for the other daddy long-legs who had lost its prey. I also felt grateful to the arachnid for catching a fly that might otherwise have gotten into the house and driven me crazy with its buzzing for several days. And of course I don't know that I should feel bad for the fly. Never having been a fly, I don't know exactly what its feelings were about being caught and eaten.

Maybe daddy long-legs venom is a great high for a fly. Maybe it died having a delightful venom-induced fly fantasy about finding the biggest, tastiest turd ever. Maybe preventing a fly from being caught in an arachnid's web would not only be depriving the arachnid of sustenance, but being a total narc to the fly. I suppose nature is best left alone, and human sympathy pointless when given to insects. Or maybe I should save my sympathy for the countless mosquitoes I've mercilessly squashed and flies I've swatted. For all I know, they might have preferred death at an arachnid's hands chelicerae.