Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Three Circles of Pesticide

Couldn’t take the bugs anymore, so I went to Home Depot and bought fifty bucks of industrial-strength chemical compounds, nearly every pesticide I could find for spiders, ants, bees, flying insects. Swiped them off the shelves and into my basket, including foggers, powders, sprays, and foams, with names like, Bug Stop, Real-Kill, Ant-B-Gon, Hi-Yield Kill-A-Bug II, Hot Shot Spider Killer, and No Bugs in My Backyard. Even bought something special for the inevitable arrival of rodents.

Walking in circles around my trailer with a can in each hand, I sprayed a stream of white ooze from up to six feet away on baby spiders, brown furry spiders, black shiny spiders with red bellies, and anything else that dared breathe or move. They shriveled under the foam, and I thought, I’m going to win!

I’m determined. This place is not going to be like my apartment where I shivered and rocked back and forth in my bed while ants that had broken the barrier of pesticide dust around the foundation outside gathered crumbs from my abandoned nacho plates and readied themselves for crossing the 2nd barrier, the ring of dust around my bed.

This is chemical warfare on a new scale, and I’m determined. I won’t be taken prisoner, a hostage in my own home. This barricade of safety will be inpenetrable.

I sprinkled the standard ring of dust around the skirting of my trailer and then went around a second and third time for good measure, specializing my sprinkling each round, isolating a few select populations and peppering their homes with Green Light Many Purpose Dust, my apocalyptic snow, and in some cases giving them directives like, Eat up, boys! Come get your last meal! Then sat on my porch with a canister of Agent Orange for Insects across my lap like a loaded shotgun and waited for a bug to cross the three circles of hell, so I could introduce myself.

Fruit Not Welcome Here

An excerpt from a eulogy about my life: “Derek Smith was concerned with doing good work, and his work was often good, whether it be teaching, writing, or parenting. He liked the idea of eating fruit but didn't get around to it until his early thirties.”

(I already wrote my eulogy. I don’t want my family screwing it up at my memorial service. An interesting side effect of doing this was that thinking about what people will say about me after I’m gone helped me set some goals – yep, I’m that lazy and insecure, needing to cling to some imaginary fear that my loved ones will gossip after I’m gone about how I wasted my life to get me off my butt and work.)

But I digress. So far I’m doing well. With the exception of some frozen blackberries, pineapple juice concentrate mixed with rum, and a canteloupe joining the compost bin at the bottom of my refrigerator, fruit has never entered my trailer.

I figure that if I eat enough MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and carnuba wax, my body will never deteriorate and that I will become a human candle. That way my memory will be preserved in a wax museum (hopefully) and I won’t need a eulogy after all.

A Conversation with Trevor

Trevor, my realtor, told me the county inspector would be visiting and that he might be picky or he might be chill. “Really,” he said, “it could go either way.”

“How?” I asked, “How could it go either way? Is the inspector going to ignore the shed, the coop, the treehouse, the outhouse, the cabins, all without county permits, the 220 and 110 volt electrical cords strung across the creek, and the two barrels of chemicals in the yard?”

“Sometimes inspectors look the other way and normally you wouldn't want that,” he said, beginning one of his realtor-to-layman explanations, “because the point of the inspection is to make sure you’re buying legal property. But we want the inspector to ignore problems because by the time the problems get fixed the sell date will have passed and we’ll have to file again. That will be more money."

“Let me get this straight: even though the inspector is looking out for us, we want him to ignore the jerry-rigged powerline that could at any moment fall in the creek and electrocute legions of salmon and small congregations of swimming neighbor children so we can save a couple bucks?”

“Exactly. It'll be cheaper for us to fix stuff on our own. Don’t worry ‘bout it. Richard, the realtor on the seller’s end, has been working to make everything up-to-snuff out there. He already sawed off the extra rooom to make the trailer appear mobile for the county."

“Wait, he sawed off the room on purpose? But kept it connected with staples and tarps to make it look mobile, even though it hasn’t moved since 1985? That doesn't make any sense. If you see that inspector tell him I don't believe in meaningless rules and that I'm more interested in reality than image."

"But then he'll want to investigate."

"That's okay. While he's investigating he can help me unwind the tree roots from the plumbing and hook the trailer up to my car and I'll drive it down the street with tarps flapping behind me in the wind, you know, to demonstrate its mobility."