Last week, I managed to get a mosquito bite on one eyelid, poison ivy that spread and multiple bites from an unknown bug on my arms.
Some of it was my own fault for pulling weeds with my bare hands. I know better, but I had left my garden tool bag upstairs and thought I could just quickly do one section without gloves. Since then I have become reacquainted with urushiol, the substance in poison ivy leaves that causes the tormenting rash. There is no Jewelweed on Block 832, so I have had to use calamine lotion to hold down the itching. We had Jewelweed nearby when we lived in Millington and Piscataway near brooks and I could just recall those pretty plants with dangling orange flowers as I fetched the calamine out of the bathroom cabinet.
The bug bites might have come from chiggers in the grass, although over 24 years here I have never had that problem before. The bites itch intensely and not all the time, but in seemingly random attacks of mad itching, such as at 4 a.m. this morning. The cat thought I was getting up to give him treats, of course, but I was dashing for the calamine.
I think I got a few mosquito bites on my arms on Friday to add to the mix. I saw no mosquitoes all summer until last week, when I was slapping them left and right. We do have the Asian Tiger Mosquito in New Jersey, but I was more interested in smacking the ones on my arm than trying to identify them, though the possibility reminded me of all the West Nile Virus stories reporters had to write years ago. It seemed as if every dead crow got its own story in those days.
I can't decide whether intense itching is a distraction from or the perfect accompaniment to anxiety over possibly the worst storm in a decade on its way to our state. I'm just hoping those 40-mph winds blow all the biting bugs out of town for a while, so I can do any post-hurricane yard cleanup in peace!