79.7 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pest control

My folder hit the head of the gentleman in front of me with a thud. To be fair, I was attempting to save him from malaria.

I am a regular traveler on the Unitrans J-line. The other day I was sitting in my seat, looking over my transcripts to ensure I had met all my graduation requirements. The bus was packed, and I sat enraptured in my planning for a majority of the ride.

However, a sudden motion caught my eye as the bus entered a roundabout. A massive mosquito had just landed on the head of the passenger directly in front of me. I watched as the bug tucked in his wings and allowed his mud-brown legs to rest upon an unsuspecting college student’s head. I knew it would only be seconds before the young man would become a meal that would allow this large insect to subsist.

A million thoughts raced through my head as I contemplated my course of action. Should I ignore the insect? Would I allow this gentleman to contract malaria or West Nile virus? This was unfathomable. Yes, I know malaria isn’t really present in the United States. Still, I was concerned.

I could swat away the creature, but that would leave other bus passengers in danger. I could attempt to warn the passenger and ask permission to touch his head, but there just was not time for this. In my mind, this was a life or death situation and I had a nanosecond to make a choice.

I decided I was going in for the kill. I raised my manila folder and sent it swooshing towards this stranger’s head without warning. My folder hit the young man’s black hair and the mosquito with force.

The traveler turned around and stared at me. Although I don’t encourage judging people on their appearances, from what I could gather, this young man was a relatively shy, studious individual. He looked at me quizzically, as I suppose anyone who had just been hit on the head by a stranger would. I replied, “There was a mosquito on your head. But don’t worry, I gots it.” Apparently I was under the impression that more informal speaking, in the form of improper grammar, would ease the tension.

The gentleman replied, “Oh, thanks,” though I questioned the sincerity of that statement. As he said that, another motion caught my eye. I hadn’t done away with the creature! Again, my duty to be a good citizen forced me into action. I screamed, “Oh I don’t gots it!”

At this point, a majority of the bus passengers in my section were watching the encounter. Apparently, swift movement and loud exclamations are a good way to garner attention while on a bus. I stared as the mosquito landed on the window next to me.

With all the swiftness of a lioness going after an antelope, my manila folder hit the mosquito, crushing it against the window pane. To all the mosquito-lovers out there, I would like to formally apologize. I did it for the greater good. Someone has to protect J-line passengers from malaria. I screamed, “I GOTS IT!” again — apparently when in hunting mode I automatically forget the conventions of the English language.

There is now a prominent brown smear on my human development advising folder. I view it as a battle scar, making that folder much more interesting than the rest of my files. It has served a purpose far nobler than organization.

So, to the J-line passengers who I rescued from malaria, West Nile virus and red, swollen bug bites — you’re welcome. I’ll be on the J-line the rest of the school year to help you out with your insect needs. To the sweet gentleman who I hit on the head, I apologize for startling you.

MARCI MONTANARI encourages students with questions, comments or words of praise for her courage to contact her at mcmontanari@ucdavis.edu.



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