Last Thursday, I decided that I was a vampire. This might seem like a strange conclusion, but I had two highly suspicious wounds on my neck, above my carotid artery, that I had no memory of incurring. Additionally, Boris (Karloff, my car) has been a subject of some question since he was purchased last summer. Boris is a dark, bloody red sedan with a black interior. Driving my car is kind of like driving a coffin that corners especially accurately. Boris featured a gothic style cross on his driver’s side door until it fell off – now he just has a cross shaped glue spot. Months ago, Jan Rankin noticed the cross and asked what it meant, saying she’d seen multiple vehicles with the insignia in Corpus. I had no idea because I’d inherited it with the car, but I speculated that I’d accidentally joined a cult. This is absolutely something that would happen to me, so Jan and I spent a pleasurable hour formulating an exit strategy which mostly involved yelling at people and definitely not drinking any Kool-Aid, even if it was the blue kind.
Now that a Dracula bit me, I’ve changed my tune. I’m pretty sure Boris is some kind of vampire targeting device. Instead of joining a cult, I decided I’d just inadvertently been advertising my willingness to be a blood sucker’s juice bag for the last year. I told my friend Amber about the situation, and showed her the bites on my neck (via text message, as neither Amber nor I leave our houses unless we’re 1) being paid or 2) have been tricked). Instead of expressing sympathy for my state of probable undeadness, Amber turned the bite marks into a smiley face and sent the picture back. My friends rarely take me seriously.
She did, however, patiently listen to me as I worried about possibly turning into a vampire. We decided that the real downside to vampirism wasn’t murdering lots of people via exsanguination, but that the process would be so sticky. “Dude, I don’t even like eating watermelon unless it’s all cut up and I can use a fork,” I whined.
“Maybe you’d get good at it and you could make it neater,” Amber responded calmly, “Like maybe we could invent some kind of straw.” It’s that kind of “outside-the-box” thinking that makes her such a terrific bartender.
As the days passed, I continued my usual routine because you can’t let stuff (even being convinced that you’re Nosferatu) get you down. This is one of my favorite times of year, so Stadler (my dog) and I have been spending as much time as we can outside. In short, the sun has been beating down on me for days, and I’ve so far shown no sign of disintegrating into ash. I have even stopped shopping for urns online. New conclusions had to be drawn, especially when I got told to shut up by twelve people, several of whom helpfully referenced the “Twilight” series. The idea that annoying, sparkly stalkers might be a part of my everyday life created a level of anti-anxiety that canceled my worries.
The highly scientific G.P. (my Dad) thought it much more likely that I’d been bitten by a spider. Maybe…a radioactive spider…?
The truth of the matter is that I am a blood sucker magnet. It may be true that Draculas aren’t much of a threat, and that Boris Karloff is really just a Nissan, but I am still a target for anything that enjoys an occasional sip (or, in my case, pint) of human blood. In South Texas, my greatest enemy is the mosquito. I tend to survive by constantly basting myself with Deet. Anytime I go anywhere, I have to take a can of Cutter with me, and gird myself by shoving dryer sheets into my bra straps and socks before I even walk out the door. I spend the summers looking like an armadillo made of Bounce.
I am a mosquito delicacy to the extent that I have the same net function as a citronella candle — those who sit next to me don’t get bitten. People exploit this fact by taking me with them any time they want to dine or drink al fresco. This gets me a lot of free cocktails. Not worth it! I have an allergy to mosquito bites that makes them turn into huge, itchy, puffy, pink pillows that only recede when coated in Benadryl and hydrocortisone creams. I also, when significantly stung, have to take massive doses of oral Benadryl or spend my nights scratching myself raw. When I tell you I have tried everything, please believe it. I have not only experimented with every single scientific and natural remedy, I’ve tried them all in varying combination. I’ve studied mosquitoes and kept super disgusting field journals categorizing types of bites. They say that the bugs are specific to their area, and that each kind releases a slightly different breed of analgesic (which numbs the area so we don’t notice the bite, but to which we’re also allergic — thus the itch). Science thinks that over time and with enough hits you can develop histamines which will stop the itching. I have yet to synthesize any such thing, although I get bitten approximately 100,000,000 times per year. I am a hopeless case.
The bottom line is that I cannot stand to stay in the house while the days are long and lovely. Despite the intense discomfort of the bloodsuckers who truly adore me (still better than Edward from “Twilight”), I’ll still be soaking up as much springtime as I can. If you see me out and about, dryer sheets poking out of my sleeves and socks, reeking of Deet, feel free to stand next to me. I’m probably not a Dracula. You should buy me a drink, you know…to be sure.