Tales from the Exurbs, Vol. VI: The Invasion

They’re heeeeeeeeeeere.

Every weekday, I get an email newsletter about the gig economy and the future of work, authored by my friend Susan. I love her pithy take on the news items she selects, and there are usually a few links that interest me. She also includes a “fun thing” each day – a new development dating from the beginning of COVID; it used to just be a “Friday fun thing,” but Susan decided we all needed more fun and she bumped it up to daily. Last week, one of the “fun things” was a RECIPE FOR ROASTED CICADAS, which NO. JUST SO MUCH NO. (For the record: it’s a NO for Susan, too.)

In introducing the fun thing, Susan mentioned that one way to have a conversation with someone from D.C., without them bringing up the weather, is to mention cicadas.

If you’re not in the know (or you’re not from the D.C. area and therefore not as obsessed with cicadas as we currently are), we are in the midst of a cicada invasion. “Brood X,” as they’re known, are a cyclical bunch of cicadas that appear every seventeen years. I lived in D.C. proper seventeen years ago (seems crazy!) but I don’t remember the last cicada invasion; maybe it just wasn’t as big of a thing then? Less social media? Or maybe just not as noticeable from a Foggy Bottom apartment when you’re consumed with law school final exams?

Because I’ll tell you – it’s cicada central in the exurbs. They’re literally everywhere; the other day I took my computer out to the sunroom for a conference call, and glancing out the window I realized – to my horror – that the back of my house was encrusted with dozens of cicadas. Just walking to the car is like navigating a minefield, unless you want a crusty layer of crushed cicada on the bottom of your Birkenstocks. Which I don’t.

The male cicadas arrived last week, and the females surfaced this week – and the decibel levels are noticecable, even for me. (I grew up listening to cicadas humming in my Grandmama’s backyard on Long Island, and I barely hear them; it’s just white noise to me.)

And then there are the exoskeletons.

Ohhhhhhh, the exoskeletons. There are abandoned cicada exoskeletons clinging to every leafy plant in my yard. I don’t even want to weed my garden.

In case it’s not obvious, I’m not thrilled about this development. I don’t mind the noise, but the dive-bombing bugs and the sickening crunch every time you step on one… shudder. Is it over yet?

Have you been following the D.C. cicada chronicles? Are you as over it as I am?

2 thoughts on “Tales from the Exurbs, Vol. VI: The Invasion

  1. Oh, my! I am actually kind of jealous. I love cicadas, but according to most maps, we are outside the range of Brood X; we just have the more ordinary ones, probably what you experienced as a kid. I would NOT like stepping on them though, I can certainly agree with that! Re: the exoskeletons, it is very cool how they grasp onto things — you can pick them up and move them. I used to like to arrange them on tree trunks. Maybe you can make a game of it for Nugget, he could remove them from your lilies and assemble them on nearby trees: army march, parade, even a baseball field with exoskeleton players and coaches. The possibilities are endless!

    • I’m trying to appreciate them for their uniqueness and benefits – but it’s hard because I think they’re gross, LOL! N is actually not a fan either – I think this might be the first critter that he has reacted to with a hard NOPE NOPE NOPE. I might have to pay a neighborhood kid to clear them out for me!

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