It rained three days this week. As Debra in the church office said, it always rains in late May and usually on Memorial Day weekend; maybe this year we got the rain out of the way before the long weekend. After three days of rain, you’d expect a nice crop of mosquitoes to hatch out. But not in the Bay area. The few mosquitoes that do come around whine listlessly around your ear, and when you swat at them, and miss, they apologize for bothering you and fly away. If you go hiking up into some of the undeveloped canyons and ridge tops around the Bay area, it’s a different story. As you dodge the poison oak branches that actively try to swat you in the face, fast little iron-gray mosquitoes fly at you while you’re distracted, and drill their red-hot proboscises into your arteries.

When those vicious iron-gray mosquitoes attack you, you believe the stories of the early residents of Palo Alto, who complained that the town was a vile place to live: every time it rained, the streets turned into a muddy mess, and the fleas and mosquitoes made life miserable. There are credible stories of children getting sucked down into the mud and lost forever. As for the mosquitoes, they were much bigger back then: two working together could pick up a small dog and carry it off, and four could drain enough blood out of a big man to leave him ghostly pale and unconscious. In San Mateo County, mosquitoes were among the first registered voters back in 1856 when the county split from San Francisco. The county had only 2,000 human residents; women and children weren’t allowed to vote, yet 1,600 votes were cast in the first election, many by mosquitoes. It is said that the only reason San Mateo County politics eventually got cleaned up was that the swamps got drained, and the mosquitoes mostly died off.

6 thoughts on “Rain

  1. Jean

    Hm. Interesting history lesson, Dan. Can you write one about the deer flies in Indiana?

  2. Dad

    A friend who went down east last weekend told me that the black fly season has started early this year. They may be small but !!!!
    Insects really own this world.

  3. Dan

    Jean @ 1 — Don’t deer flies always register Republican? Doesn’t that explain Indiana’s voting record?

  4. Jean

    Ah, dear historian. You will note that we have had our share of notable Democrats elected to public office over the years. Birch Bayh, back in the 70s; his son Evan Bayh more recently. And the fair city of Richmond, Indiana, has had any number of Democrats elected Mayor of the city. (Our current mayor is a Democrat, and by golly, a woman. ) There are other examples, of course, throughout the history of the state, which allow us to recognize that Indiana is not a *completely* red state.

    So, we can probably surmise from this that the deer flies — while they may be, and probably are Republicans — do not explain the shifting patterns in voting. The *deer* of course, are the real answer. When the deer population swells, the state goes for Democrats. Subsequent to more deer? Even more deer flies. And thus the vote swings to the right.

    Of course there is the wild card of the coyotes, horse flies, crawdads, and turkey vultures. These guys? They vote Independent.

  5. Jean

    Oh, and I forgot: none of this is linked to rainfall. It’s all about mild winters. The milder the winter, the more deer babies survive, the greater the Democratic vote…followed by, yes you guessed it, more deer flies. And, yes, a spike in the population of Independent voters as well. Especially turkey vultures.

  6. Dan

    Jean @ 5 — #&%$! liberal Democrats and their mild winters — they just coddle those stupid deer. Let ’em face up to the realities of the harsh world of snow and cold and ice, that’s what I say!

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