Discover more from Everything Happened
Everything Happened | vol. 227
My life as a slayer
In my house, spiders are left alone or lovingly transferred outside. We push back on talk about “locking up bad guys.” Yesterday, Desi and I were tootling along a winding country road in my minivan on the way to the girls’ daycare, like we do, and NPR was covering the Trump indictments. “Is Trump going to go to JAIL?!” Desi asked, hungrily. “Probably not,” I said, because that’s what I believe. “Do you wish he WOULD though?” I stuttered over my answer and then we got to daycare so I dropped it. Phew!
My kids are being raised by effete vegetarian leftists. Or are they?
The other day, Jane and I were leaving the YMCA together. A heat wave was frying the mid-Atlantic and the air was like a lead vest. I saw a cluster of spotted lanternflies on the brick facade of the Y and I felt it. The change. My eyes turned into charcoal briquettes. I dropped Jane’s hand from mine and removed my enormous Hoka running shoe and got to smashin’.
One of them tried to escape but I, perhaps unwisely, followed it to the window with my Hoka of justice. One great clap of PVC sole to the pane and I squashed it dead. They’re surprisingly hearty and their insides look like marshmallow fluff. I pulled my shoe away and looked through the pane to see the wards of the Y’s childcare room looking back at me in horror. Jane, too, was shocked.
“Did you do that to keep me safe?”
But did I? Or did I do it because it FELT GREAT?
“And to keep me safe,” Jane said.
Nick is traveling, so it’s just me and these clowns for now. I’ve been trying to fill the evenings up so none of us get too squirrelly. One night we got ice cream cones downtown and I found myself unable to focus on keeping Polly from darting into the street because I was looking around for lanternflies. I was like an addict, reaching for the envelope of coke in my pocket over and over again, just to reassure myself that it was still there. I was jonesing but for bloodshed, or whatever it is they have instead of blood.
My four-year-old fights sleep with her every cell. She neutralizes melatonin gummies with her sheer will to stay awake forever. She has us over a barrel because attempts at firmness on her overtired constitution unleash a scream so shrill that at first it’s silent, like a bomb detonated on TV. She shares a room with her brother and Polly is close by, so her fury wakes them and initiates a new cascade of problems. All that to say, at night, we hear from Jane. And we hear from her again. And again. And when Nick is gone, it’s me she’s working. And oh, she works me.
(OG readers will note that I used to provide child sleep consulting services and what can I say, expertise for thee and not for me.)
Jane had finally passed out last night and the state of the house crushed me. I needed to move the laundry, catch up on dishes, pack Desi’s lunch for the next day. But I found myself pinned as though by sleep paralysis to the couch, rolling through TikToks in a trance. You know what might energize me enough to knock out the household labor? I thought. A killing spree. I wondered if lanternflies would even be out at night, and how far from my house I could stray without technically abandoning my sleeping children. I walked into the front yard, was immediately bit by 100 mosquitoes, and went back inside. Then I did the dishes.
There is conjecture about the public information campaigns for stomping spotted lanternflies. Each egg mass on a female spotted lanternfly contains 30-50 eggs, portending a harrowing growth vector of vegetative devastation. Some experts think a more top-down approach is needed, more oversight on international commerce and better checks on imported and exported goods. Stomping citizens isn’t enough. Legislation is in order.
My heart leaped this morning when I saw one crawling along the driveway next to my van’s tire. I stomped it way harder than necessary consider I am five million times its size. I thought of the parable of the man walking along the beach tossing starfish back into the surf.
It made a difference to that one.