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I am back on the mainland and blogging from Seattle with South Austin in the rearview mirror. Don't worry Virgin Island fans, I will most certainly be back in the Caribbean for visits if not full-time. And I'm sure St. Thomas will creep it's way into many future posts. For now, it's all about living in the Pacific Northwest!

August 8, 2010

Cricket Invasion!

The crickets are invading. At least that's what it feels like. Crickets usually hatch in the spring (I looked that up) but here they are in the dead of summer. They are here in numbers, invading the city streets and buildings of downtown. I remember similar invasions from my youth which always seemed to specifically target 7 Eleven store fronts. Those were always at night maneuvers, something about the lights I guess. Passersby would ignore them entirely or simply add a hop-step to get around them on their way into secure a Slurpee or  a Slim Jim.

This year's squads of crickets are brazenly advancing during the daylight hours. It began with a few dozen of them scattered here and there throughout the breezeway between the parking garage and the office building where I work. Within a week, scores of crickets had set up base camp outside the double doors to the building. One day, as I stepped off the garage elevator into the breezeway, I saw two workers with leaf blowers clearing the breezeway of what at first appeared to be some sort of ash. Clouds of this black "dust" was being blown towards the street. It took a few seconds for me to realize that these were clouds of hundreds and hundreds of crickets. What must that have been like for the crickets? I snapped a photo after the "dust" settled of the crickets that made it through the storm.

One minute, they are planning their attack, and the next, they are being blown around like palm fronds in a hurricane.  Once the crickets tactical position was weakened by building maintenance's counter attack, the elite force crickets began to move.  They somehow snuck past the guards and once in the building, made their way into the elevator shafts and advanced on every floor of the building.  The first few invaders were treated with kindness and shown their way out of the building. Within a few days though, as their numbers grew within our walls, people's tolerance began to dwindle. By the end of the first week, even the most devout Vegan was armed and ready to squash as many of the little guys as they could with the stomp of an open-toed-sling-back shoe.  We are at war! This is evidenced by the literal screams heard in the hallways as crickets drop from the ceilings, and jump from behind doors. Each night, the cleaning crew comes in and vacuums up the casualties from the day's battle (vacuum bags full of cricket carcasses - ewwwww). Tomorrow we begin again.  There are similar battles like this going on all over the city.  A friend who owns a retail store has been at def con 5 for awhile now. She's got special ops-like crickets dropping from her ceiling and laying in wait after hopping their way into the rack clothing.  Her customers are ambushed in the dressing rooms. In the retail business, that really is war and calls for a strict no mercy policy. I myself held out longer than most in my efforts to relocate rather than terminate. But if I'm being honest, I will admit that the number of kills scratched on my cubicle whiteboard is no longer zero.  

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