One thing about the Valley that distinguishes it from the Wesssside: It is totally bugnacious. Especially in the heat.
Let’s just talk about the flies for a second. Something about the rising mercury is the equivalent of someone shouting like the town crier to all flies within a 10-mile radius: “FREE POOP! COME AND GET YOUR POOP HERE! LOTS OF TASTY MICROSCOPIC DOG FOOD LEFTOVERS ON SHINY BOWLS! COME GET SOME DELICIOUS LIVE FLAPPY DOG EARS FOR NIBBLING! VERY TASTY! SWIM IN OUR LOVELY DOG WATER BOWL POOL! FREE ACCESS TO RAPIDLY DECOMPOSING COMPOST PILE WHILE IT LASTS!"
Yes, it's true. I have totally Martha'd out. I started a compost pile. It's environmentally friendly, bitches! But now the entire insect world of the San Fernando Valley is very friendly with my environment if you know what I mean. It's an unpleasant side effect.
But enough about the flies, can we talk about the water bugs? For those of you who don't know what a water bug is, picture a cockroach. On 'roids. Without the accompanying aggressiveness and bad skin. A water bug is like the roach's bigger, dumber, slower counterpart. He's not after food. He lives mostly outside and won't really scatter when the porch lights come on. Come to think of it, what the hell ARE they after? They just sort of show up and hang around. Rufus, having the official occupation in the household of He Who Chaseth All Smaller Creatures That Moveth, is quite fond of water bugs because they allow him the rare opportunity of playing Water Bug Hockey. And the water bugs don't seem to mind at all. They're like Mongo from Blazing Saddles. "Water Bug only puck in game of dog hockey." They roll and somersault when he paws them about and make very half-assed attempts at a getaway. I think they enjoy the attention. Much like Mongo.
Occasionally, however, they do venture into the house through mysterious means. The other morning, I was unfortunately awake, and dragged my sorry ass into the shower to start the day. I pulled aside the shower curtain and was greeted by The Muthah of all water bugs. He could have used my loofah as a recliner. He could have used my razor as a scooter. He was using my jar of lavender scrub as a podium, and I swear you guys, he looked up at me with his giant antennae flailing around at me and I heard something that sounded like a big dumb ass-crack-bearing plumber's voice:
WB: "Uh yeah uh lady, uh, you might wantuh look inta dat der mildew sitchiation ya got goin' dere on dose tiles back dere by da faucet. I ain't sayin' you're in any dangers now, but ya know, I gotta tell you to play it safe dere. You don't wantuh get yerself any problems down da line dere."
Me: "What are you doing in my tub? Who let you in? There's no hole in the window screen. The tub is too tall for you to crawl in here. WTF?"
WB: "Uh lady, dere's really no reason ta be raisin' yer voice at me dere, I'm just doin' my job here and addressin' the sitchiation you's got goin' on here. Now you's just pay me my fee dere and we'll be square."
I paid him his fee. I flushed his ass down the toilet. It's full of water. He'll be perfectly happy there.
Another, more sinister side of our bug environs happens in the form of lots of big, scary spiders in the backyard. At first, my attitude toward them was eh, let 'em be -- they're building webs to catch and eat all these effing annoying flies. But then one day when I was winding up the hose after watering, there was this GI-FREAKING-NORMOUS black widow sitting right there on the hose, spinning around as I wound up the hose, sitting there looking at me like I was a giant, tasty bloodsicle and I thought oh heyall naw! I squirted her ass into oblivion. Then the other day, whilst winding up the same hose, there was a big giant brown spider hanging around on it.
Me: "Dude! There is a big brown spider on the hose!"
Derek (across the yard): "Really?"
Me: "Yeah. It's brown with white spots and it's big. I bet you it's a brown recluse. Those things will bore a hole right through your skin and kill a dog easily. It obviously must die." (stomps foot savagely on insectual beast)
Derek: "Do we even have the brown recluse in this part of the country?"
Me: (long pause) "Uhhhhhhh. I dunno. Do we? Oh shoot. Well. I guess better safe than ... you know. Uh. Oh. Well. Crap. Now I feel bad."
I would make a great thug.