It's Finally Over: Signs for Life
A Minute to Myself (38)

The Symbolism of Bug Spray

I am taking my life into my own hands: I am sitting outside at dusk on a summer eve. I have put bug spray on, hoping to prevent the onslaught, for it is too lovely out here to let the mosquitoes and their ilk drive me inside and have absolute dominion over the great outdoors. And so I sit, protected by a light coating that, remarkably, does not smell; and I am at peace. The mosquitoes go their way, and I sit in mine. And it is good. I am protected from getting bitten and the accompanying hours of itching and scratching; and they are prevented from getting savagely slapped, or tooling around with my blood in their bodies.


Could bug spray symbolize experience? Is it what protects us from our true habitat: human interactions? Does it protect us from those who would cause us to scratch our heads in shame or disappointment? Does it protect us from those who torment us from within, from those bites that feel more internal than external? Is that thin veneer all that guards us against the vagaries of other people’s moods and needs and desires, those who would suck our blood, leaving behind a trail of irritations? 


Can I spray on a coating so that only the fireflies could come near? Could I find a brand that discerns between good bugs and bad bugs? Or is it about the right combination of type of spray, thickness of coating, time of exposure that would enable one’s peaceful, contented presence in the great outdoors?  

I’m not sure, but I think I missed a spot, my left calf is itchy. I guess it’s time to go inside, where the bug spray offers no protection, but the windows will remain closed until I turn off the lights. In some places I know (from experience) how to deal with the bugs, in other places I am still experimenting. Isn’t that what experience is: experiments that continually need to be fine-tuned and adjusted to get a positive result. I know what a positive result is for bug spray; I’m still working on it for life. I guess I’m mixing my own formula (or is it mixing up my formula?). 

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