The other day as I started driving to work I found I was not alone in the car. I had an uninvited and unwanted passenger along for the ride.  A mosquito.  A malaria, West Nile fever, Zika fever, Dengue fever, Yellow fever, Chikungunya, encephalitis, and all the other thirteen plus mosquito borne diseases carrying mosquito.  I knew this particular mosquito was carrying all of them and just waiting for an opportunity for me to drop my guard so she could bite me.  That’s right, as sexist as it seems, only the female mosquitoes bite. She needs the blood to produce eggs—a whole new generation of blood-sucking, disease carrying vermin.

I first caught her out the corner of my eye as I made my turn onto 85 south. Of course she didn’t make her presence known while we were still in the driveway, where I could have easily stopped the car and dispatched her to that great swamp in the sky.  No, she waited until I was forced to keep up with the sixty-five mile an hour traffic (in the fifty-five mile per hour zone) to make her appearance known.  It’s rather hard to swat a moving insect which hovers just out of reach while traveling sixty-five miles an hour and attempting to avoid a major accident.  Not that I didn’t try.  I held onto the steering wheel with one hand, while smacking the windshield, dashboard, window, car seat, and even my own body parts with my other hand, always a split second after the varmint escaped.  Every time I lost sight of her, I had to check the floor board to be sure she wasn’t dining on my ankle.  I’m sure the drivers around me must have thought I was somehow impaired by drugs or alcohol, or even worse, distracted by my cell phone, as my car weaved down the road.  But let me assure you, I would never drive under those conditions.  A disease carrying mosquito in the car just waiting for me to keep both eyes on the road so she can ambush me, however, is a whole ‘nother matter. Keeping one eye on the road and the other on the microgram-weight beastie which had intensions of rendering me deathly ill and debilitated for possibly the rest of my life (which could be sooner than later the way I was driving), I was relieved to see the light at 85 and Lewis Turner had just turned red.

“Hah! Got you now!” I declared, in my triumphant voice.  I didn’t think insects could hear, but apparently she did because she flew into the backseat, where she remained out of sight and out of reach until the light turned green.  Now you may wonder why I didn’t just open my window and let her fly out.  That’s simple.  Because not only wouldn’t she have flown out, she would have sent silent signals to all her girlfriends to fly  “Come on, ladies, captive blood meal imprisoned in car, unable to get away.”  Then they would have dreamed up evil schemes whereby two would distract me by buzzing around my head while the third dined unnoticed on my bare arm.  Nope, I’m not dumb enough to fall into that trap.  At least with only one mosquito, I had a fighting chance.

It was just my luck that I hit all green lights the rest of the way to work, traumatized by that malevolent mosquito. I pulled into the parking lot, slammed the gear shift into park, and challenged her to a show down.  Aha!  There she was just hanging out on the passenger seat like a sitting duck.  Quickly, I squashed her nasty little body with my bare hand.  Victory was mine!  Then I looked with horror at my murderous hand.  There was a tiny spot of blood teeming with all kinds of hideous diseases from the corpse of the monster mosquito.  I probably had a tiny paper cut through which all the microscopic germs were pouring into my body right this very second.

I raced into the clinic to wash my hands. As my heart rate slowed back to normal, the technician announced my first patient—a cat with fleas.  Seriously?  I had just survived a near death experience from a disease infested mosquito and now I had to deal with plaque, typhus, tularemia, cat scratch fever carrying fleas?  I could tell it was going to be one of  “those days.”

**** I am thrilled to announce that I now have an online blog at the Northwest Florida Daily News!  Please check me out there!