There are many things I haven’t experienced during my 29 years on Earth: I’ve never been scuba diving (very afraid of deep ocean), never eaten a Big Mac (very afraid of McDonald’s meat), never read Moby Dick (meh, whales), never dated a dude with a man bun (c’est la vie). I’ve also never directly experienced a once-in-17-years cicada infestation.
I’m talking, of course, about the Brood X emergence hitting the DC area. I mean, technically I’m experiencing it in the sense that I’m watching all of you post pictures on Twitter of the bugs swarming your porches and front yards and trees. But I have yet to see one measly little cicada myself. And I’m kind of…disappointed?
Still haven't seen one either! I'm starting to think that maybe….all the cicadas are hanging out without me??? ? https://t.co/H145FfqKmO
— Mimi Montgomery (@mimi_montgom) May 18, 2021
To be clear, the bugs look demonic and gross AF, and I’m sure if I actually encountered one in the wild I would quickly wish I never had. But I’ve been reading about their impending emergence for so long, to not experience it sorta feels like one big letdown. My wanting to see them is rooted in a dark and morbid fascination, kind of like the people that drive into hurricanes just to film them on their phones. Or maybe it’s just the human desire for gross rubbernecking, like when you know you shouldn’t watch that pimple-popping video because, well, it’s disgusting, but you also can’t look away.
My disappointment could also just be the product of extreme boredom. The highlights of the past few months have included me rewatching all of True Blood and finally donating clothes I’ve had since I was 19, so yeah, I was kinda looking forward to seeing a shit ton of bugs. Just for something different!
What’s even worse is seeing all of you guys posts photos of them all over the internet. It’s kind of like when you go on IG and see all your friends at a birthday party you clearly weren’t invited to. Are all you guys hanging with the cicadas without me? Is there some Paperless Post invite that went to my spam folder? Did no one add me to the group chat?
Yesterday, I event went on a mini cicada safari through my neighborhood just to try and glimpse one. I peered into trees and surveyed sidewalks, trying to imagine where I would want to hang out if I had just seen daylight for the first time since the year Meet the Fockers came out. But still—nothin’! I’m not saying the cicada infestation is one big government hoax, but…maybe the Birds Aren’t Real people were on to something. (FBI, please don’t tap my phone.)
Another theory: My colleague Andrew Beaujon suggested that perhaps the cicadas see me as a predator and flee my presence. I can understand this, as I am very tall and loud and have been told my footsteps are a subtle as a Humvee. But let me use this platform to dissuade any cicada reading this: I am actually extremely weak and tire easily, and would likely be easily overpowered by, let’s say, roughly 30 of you all. There is no need to fear me, insects! Like a Martian exiting the hatch of its UFO, I come in peace, simply wanting to peer curiously at your kind.
Really, that’s what it all comes down to—curiosity. Okay, that and a sense of being left out. I just really want the opportunity everyone else has been afforded, that of walking out the door, seeing a boat load of bugs, saying “Ew,” and then going back inside, where I will tweet about all the cicadas I’ve seen. And then remain in the house until they are all gone.
I mean, really—is that too much to ask?