I braved the flood-water mosquitoes to pay a little visit to my lovely hollyhocks this afternoon and I saw my first Japanese beetle of the season.
Ask my family what this does to me. They will tell you that I spend an inordinate amount of time patrolling my flower beds with a cup of soapy water, knocking those little buggers into it and reveling in their bubbly demise. They will tell you that I come down stairs in the morning ranting about how much of the flowering crab has been skeletonized by them in the last day. They will tell you that I cruise the Internet looking for something I could spray on them that won't harm the cats or the bees. They will tell you that when I've been especially lucky with my beetle murdering, I crow about how many I offed this time. I will be behaving in this obsessive way for the next month.
I just hate those things. Why didn't they just stay in Japan?
Then, I glanced out my front window and saw a guy from the water company spraying blue paint marks on our front lawn and flagging various spots. I went out and asked him (politely) what all this meant. He answered, "Progress!"
"Progress that involves digging up my yard?"
"Yes, but then the whole neighborhood will have fiber optic cable!" He was so cheerful about it.
Now. I'm not against progress. But in this neighborhood it somehow always means a month or two of jackhammers and trenching machines right in front of our house, and, this time, clearly up into the yard. We can pretty much count on this about every other summer. Can't someone else be the victim of progress just this once?
Anyway, I was feeling pretty darn sorry for myself. Then I opened up the new Newsweek that had just arrived today. And I realized, you know, the Japanese beetles are not as bad as having the Mississippi River running through my living room for days at a time. New fiber optic cable was a sign that our utility infrastructure was indeed progressive, unlike the "health care " system in Malawi, where the per capita spending to keep people alive and well is $12.00 a year. And the pain we are all feeling at the gas pump is pretty bearable compared to Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate is 3 million per cent annually.
So, come on, Joyce; try to find a way to buck up under hardship, will you?