I’ve been fighting jetlag like the plague. I stay awake for hours past the typical bedtime, my mind racing through a million things. But finally, for the first time since my arrival in Florence, the clock read 10:30 pm and I was ready to turn out the lights to sleep.
And then, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning only to turn them on again! The room was still, but I could hear it loud and clear. This annoying little buzzing noise. Un zanzara (mosquito)! It was nestled on my pillow directly next to my ear. Perhaps it was innocently and quietly snoring. Or maybe it was eyeing me as its next meal, debating where to land. Either way (even though I tend to gravitate towards the latter) it was disturbing my sleep!
Now let’s be honest. Doing laundry in Italy is a process. The washing part is simple, but drying something takes time. Especially if you come home from class to find your clothes and sheets soaked with off-colored rainwater and have to start the process all over again. So option #1: “Squish mosquito against pillow” was out.
And for option #2, “squish mosquito between hands,” I was at a slight disadvantage. Waking up so startled had temporarily dampened my motor skills. I nudged my pillow, causing my prey to lift into the air, and then proceeded to clap like an idiot several times in an attempt to kill it. The noise of my hands hitting each other broke the silence of the room, cutting through my sleep-filled foggy mind, and I could feel my frustration mounting.
The mosquito landed on the wall in front of me, challenging me (or maybe it was laughing at me). In our orientation seminars, we learned about Italian walls. Made of plaster, they are very susceptible to cracks and staining. One of the leaders from our program made it very clear: do not smash bugs against the walls; you’ll have to pay for paint. However, at this point, all reason went out the window as I resorted to option #3: “squish mosquito against wall.” And smack. It was dead. Stuck to the wall in all its glory, antennas and legs sticking out at odd angles.
And it was still there when I woke up in the morning (and is still there tonight), my very own mosquito wallpaper, warning to the other Italian insects: Don’t mess with me. I’ve had enough! Basta!!