the why-me? factor…

I should’ve known, I suppose. Or should I? When was the last time we had SO much rain that it occurred to me that I should move my car several times, in order to discourage intruders? I knew that bugs will head inside, sometimes, when there is a lot of rain, because they’re looking for dry ground, and shelter from what must be a global flood, to them. But how often do I leave my car sitting for several days? Not very often.

Spending several days with friends in Georgia was wonderful, and I’ll talk more about that part of it, later. But I was expecting a leisurely drive home to Clemson… when I saw an ant on my dashboard. I squashed him, thinking little of it. And then I saw another. By the time I had seen four or five of them, I was getting worried. Because it had finally occurred to me what MIGHT have happened, while Georgia and South Carolina were getting drowned in rain, and my car had been sitting in the same spot. I was hoping I was wrong, however.

You can never find an exit, when you want one. I’m sure it took another half an hour to find an exit, and then pull off at a gas station. The second I opened my car door, I almost freaked out. Ok, I wanted to freak out, but had to keep it under control. A stream of ants was running around the door jamb of the driver’s side door. So, I opened a different door… and it was even worse. I ran into the gas station, hoping they would have bug spray, but no such luck. I ran out, slightly panicked, and NOT wanting to get back into my car, but reminded myself they didn’t seem to be getting on the carpet or anything fabric. Just on the plastic stuff, in the door.

I managed to find an Ingles, and hurried in, just as it began to pour down rain, once more. Here I was, wearing my sundress that I had worn to church, trying to keep from slipping in my wet flip-flops, carrying an umbrella, and all I wanted was ant spray for my car! When I saw the Terro ant spray on the shelf, I took a brace, momentarily. Terro ant traps… my family and friends swear by that brand, so the spray must be fantastic.

Back out into the rain I went, where eventually, I had about three doors open at a time, to keep from soaking the inside of the car, and to deter anyone from making a grab for my purse. Not that any sane person would be out there in the rain, purse-snatching. But I had swarms of aunts in the back door jambs, which made me want to do a dance of disgust and run away, not deal with the problem. Holding an umbrella in one hand, I stomped through the puddles, spraying my doors, the door jambs, parts of the floor, and even on my dashboard (while trying to protect the CD player).

Once I was back in the car, I tried to convince myself that nothing was crawling on me, as I drove away. You know how it is, you get any creepy-crawly on or near you, and you feel like there are more. About an hour later, the rain had stopped, and I needed a break, so I pulled over at a Starbucks. Then, it was time for the next step. With no rain coming down, I popped the hood, and looked inside. And had to take several deep breaths, before calling my dad.

With a stream of ants running around near the battery, I wanted to know if it was safe to be spraying ant spray near the engine, while I continued to resist the urge to run away and cry. Or scream. Or something. So, after getting the go-ahead, I sprayed down everything I could reach (aside from the engine itself), and left the hood open. Then I went inside for coffee, and stayed there for a while. Just keep breathing. Coffee will help.

For the rest of the trip home, I had an occasional invader come into the car, and crawl out on the dashboard. So I kept the spray handy, and kept my windows cracked, whether it was raining or not. Because it was extremely humid and I have issues with the smell of exhaust, I could never go long with the air cycling from the outside, so I finally just kept the AC running, with the windows partially open. And yes, it was raining for a lot of this.

There were so many wrecks on the road, because of the slippery roads, and the traffic kept slowing down and speeding up. But I was doing fine, if a little uptight over the bug problem. And then, I still don’t know if the van didn’t have brake lights or if I just missed it. I saw a license plate at such close range that I’ll never know how I didn’t hit that vehicle. I hit the brakes and threw my car into the other lane. Had I somehow remembered that that lane was empty, because of an upcoming police car (helping someone with a flat tire)? Or would I just have hit whoever was in that lane? I’m sure what almost happened to me is why so many people were in the ditches, even when it wasn’t raining. So much traffic, and cars stopping and starting.

That near-miss just about gave me a heart attack, and for the first time, when I got home a road trip, I told my mom that I never wanted to get into the car again. Or at least, for a very long time. I proceeded to hose out the engine of my car, even as it began to rain again, and then hose out all the crevices all around my car. The ants kept looking for any non-poisonous space they could find. By the time I was finished with the hose, the rain was really coming down again, but I just stayed out in it, cooling off and calming down further.

It was  a crazy trip. One of those trips where you want to ask the sky, “Why me?”. What did I do to deserve that? Nothing, of course. These things just happen, and it’s just life. But though I’m usually the kind of girl that isn’t overly bothered by bugs, I’ve been extra antsy about them, all day today. And no, I’m not intending a pun, though I know where the word comes from, now. When I woke up, I had to take a deep breath and go check my car, because I had this dread that it would be just as bad, again.

Thus far, the spray and the hose seem to have done their work. But I don’t think I will be very “trusting” of my car, for some time after this. So, if you see me staring hard at the door jambs of my car, any time soon, you can be sure of what I’m looking for. Any unwanted visitors, so I can be rid of them, right away!

Now, feel free to laugh and squirm over this, and the fact that you didn’t have to deal with it. And I’ll get ready to tell you about the rest of my fun, though wet, weekend in Georgia. The trip home was the only bad part!  : )

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