Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Plague of Lovebugs

Picture this. Here’s a guy driving along in his car on a beautiful day in May. He’s enjoying it all. The fine temperature, the pleasant scenery and the smooth operation of his clean, new car. Everything is good. Until the second or third splat of bug juice on the windshield. On the just washed and shined grillwork, and then on the whole car.

May is the lovebug season in Florida, and the air is thick with swarms and blankets of the randy little devils, drunk on love and bumping into everything. Plecia nearctica: lovebug, March fly, the honeymoon fly, something I would sooner call the fly in the ointment. But these soft little creatures are virtually harmless, and do more good to the earth than many of their brethren. That said…

The month of May here means getting out the scrub brush and car cleaner, because that’s when the honeymoon flies appear by the hundreds of thousands. They are quickly attracted to white, so sometimes swarm over white walls and surfaces. Squint your eyes and cock your head and it looks Hollywood biblical. But for many, it’s driving during lovebug season that rubs hard.

Maybe I’m sensitive because the car is new, because I’m not yet accustomed to driving everywhere, to ‘having’ a car and taking care of it, like I always took care of my carry-all bag in Tokyo, which is maybe a very odd comparison. So, I wash and rub this new car of mine, making the almost candy-apple red coat sparkle, I’m guessing this interest and care are related to newness and will fade in time. Meanwhile, I battle the lovebug plague falling like black snow on my once shiny chariot.

Someone may tell you that lovebugs in their splat-state will corrode the finish on a car. That was once true, but carmakers have improved the technology in paint and finish to prevent lovebug corrosion. But it’s still very true that the spatters should be washed off within a couple of hours. If not, you’re going to need slightly more elbow grease.

Believe it or not…Last Friday I washed the car in the morning and later took off for a drive into town. I had to stop twice to wash a thick film of technicolor bug slush off the windshield. At the Toyota dealer later, looking after a small problem, I asked them to wash the car after the job was done. It was diamond bright when I left there. When I got home I had to wash the car again.

‘Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour…’ — KING JAMES BIBLE, ECCLESIASTES 10:1 — And so we have the expression, ‘a fly in the ointment.’

1 comment:

  1. LOL - I know the feeling - G is doing the same thing with his new car. Mine is old enough now that I just don't worry about it.

    Lovebugs are a pain :-)


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America