High Maintenance

ant

If you know me, you know that I would never be accused of being a nature girl. I do love the outdoors:taking long walks on the beach; driving curvy mountainous roads in the fall; sitting on the porch to read or just listening to the birds’ converse. Yet, loving the outdoors and being nature girl are quite different.
First off, I abhor bugs. Spiders and ticks make my skin crawl. I like to sit outside, but not enough to let sweat start rolling down my back making me a sticky landing strip for mosquitos. My blood is like mothers milk to them. Once one gets a taste, the word gets out. Like a banner posting “Free dinner buffet” at the local Golden Corral, every glutinous customer and their brother arrive for the feast. I look like I had an allergic reaction to the bug spray the little bastards saw as seasoning.
Second, I’m not a fan of the heat. Heat means sweating and as stated above leads to itching. It also means wearing shorts. I am 5’0, which means I have no legs to speak of. My hips basically rest on my knees and my knees on my ankles. Not a very attractive look in shorts let me tell you.
Thirdly, dirt and I are not friends, not even acquaintances. If it gets under my fingernails…we have a problem. If I do any sort of gardening, gloves are a must. And by “gardening”, I mean putting flowers in pots. There are no shovels, rakes or weeding included in my terminology of the word.
This is not an aversion that developed over time either. Like freshly hatched turtles knowing to crawl towards the water, I always knew to run away from dirt. As a toddler, mom said I enjoyed the beach while sitting on my blanket. However, let one granule of sand on my blanket and the screaming commenced.
Over the past decade, I’ve been trying to find ways to be less high maintenance. I did take up scuba diving, but sweating, dirt and bugs aren’t an issue there. So maybe that doesn’t count. Currently, my husband is embarking on a new career path. We are fine-tuning all the details before making the leap. This new career path will bring me face to face with nature. Now, I must find a way to make nice with the great outdoors as my body is about to be immersed in it.
Today, I went into our back yard with blanket and book in tow. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and our dogs were hanging out as dogs do. Lying on my belly, I read my book and enjoyed the warm sun…for the first 3 minutes. I noticed a small disturbance in the grass. It was an old enemy, the spider. I stayed cool, after all this was his turf and I was trying to make nice. My heart quickened as I realized it wasn’t just his turf but a convention of spiders I had interrupted. Refusing to retreat, I turned around to the opposite end of the blanket. I continued to read where I left off. That is, until I felt a searing pain in my ankle. Damn ants had invaded my blanket, my turf and bit me when I got in the way. After I scratched my ankle raw, I decided to sit up instead. I put the book down, closed my eyes and listened to the birds sing. Their unique melodies filled the air as the sun warmed my face. Then, almost in unison, but completely in stereo, both dogs started to yack. After snacking on grass, minutes earlier, I had one on either side of me as if in a barfing competition. The petite one scurried off as if she had disgusted no one and the big one decided to roll in it. Awesome! I took a deep breath, picked the book back up in an attempt to soldier on. Two pages in, something wet was touching my toe. I looked down over my book to see an earthworm attempting an arduous journey across my foot. My reflex ninja kick, sent him back to square one. As I was being repulsed by the slimy worm, big dog (who rolled in his own barf), plopped himself beside me on my blanket. Put a fork in my high maintenance butt, I’m done.
As I sat in my air-conditioned sanctuary, I thought 15 minutes was a good start.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Crain says:

    I enjoyed your account of your romp into the outdoors life. Good writing!

    1. Appreciate your feedback Steve! I’m having trouble staying motivated to write consistently, lately. The encouragement is appreciated!!

  2. Pat Lichtenstein says:

    Love it !!! Feel the same way, but couldn’t phrase it so beautifully ! let’s bring the outdoors inside !

    1. Thanks! I felt like I was admitting a character flaw. ” Hi, I’m Cara, and…I’m high maintenance.”

      1. Thanks for commenting!!! Glad you liked it!

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