A Day in the Life of an Easily-Overwhelmed, Increasingly-Rugged Island Girl. Part 2.

…Continued from Part 1.

12:45 pm. Under the Canopy, My Bed.

Wake from nap. Start writing blog post. Feel distracted. Look up definition of “campy” to confirm what I already know. Start reading sixteen-part Salon cultural criticism series on the difference between camp and campy. (The fun gay kind, not the outdoorsy kind that describes my life.)

1-6 pm. Canopy Prison.

What starts as cozy quickly turns claustrophobic. Spend entire afternoon under canopy cover while at least 30 mosquitoes buzz expectantly outside the clothes-pinned-shut entry/exit. Waiting. How can they possibly know we’ll eventually emerge from this spot?


Become increasingly irritated and slide into mild depressive state as day plods along. Start feeling extreme empathy for pregnant women on bed rest (a first). I don’t know how I’ll feed myself. Even my simple, bachelorette- grub staple of nachos seems impossible, since I can’t stand being outside for longer than it takes to go to the bathroom, grab another beverage, and shove some flax seed tortilla chips down my gullet.

Begin to question my sanity. Start considering move back to states where life is easy. Livin’ the dream in paradise, my ass.

6:15 pm.

Finish 16th post in sixteen-part Salon series on the difference between camp and campy.

In frenzied effort to let Hershey back inside the canopy after a pee break without letting the entire swarm in with him, we knock over the open Miller Lite can resting on my planner, spilling half of it on what, 8 hours ago, were fresh sheets. This is the last clean bedding at home, next clean bedding requires trip to laundry mat.

Exit canopy. Confirm the thing I saw and heard the thrashie bird pecking at was a now-ingested baby hermit crab, a pecked-out shell the only remains.

Have FML moment of cursing and fist-shaking. Chastise myself for degenerate lifestyle that includes so many open Miller Lite cans in and around my bed. And for living in such close proximity to the cruel realities of nature.

Decide I must leave my cottage or go insane. I simply cannot be canopied-in all afternoon, evening and night until the sun comes out tomorrow. Plus, what will happen then? Unless the wind picks up, those mosquitoes ain’t goin’ nowhere.asiantigermosquitoblogedit

Even though it’s Sunday evening, and I’m not in the position to be wasting money, time or gas, I must leave and try to find an electric mosquito racket. And some Off! I need some Off! After a full year of trying (both in earnest and vain), to avoid using mosquito repellent with DEET, I just need something that will work. I need my life back.

Wash greased-up lemongrass face. Brush clenched teeth. Find appropriate clothing as quickly as possible. Mosquitoes attack my back while changing. Copious cursing. Cannot be bothered with a bra. Put on easy-to-find long hippie skirt and non-matching concert tee. Ugly old flip-flops too, don’t care at this point. Just need to get out of this place. If it’s the last thing I ever do.

Grab dog, money, glasses, Rolling Stone and flee. Extreme empathy for war refugees who have minutes to leave their homes, bringing only what they can carry on their backs. Totally recognize I’m still suffering a first-world problem.

…Eh, maybe more like first-and-a-half…

7:20 pm. Love City Mini Mart.

No electric racket on the shelves. But there is Off! I feel guilt and failure picking it off the shelf. But I’m desperate. So desperate. It occurs to me they might have some rackets behind the counter, so I ask. And my dear friend behind the register produces one. Bless him and his whole sweet Arab family for keeping these in stock. Bless them so so much.mosquitoproductsblogedit

“Hot diggity damn!” I say. “I’ve been living in mosquito hell all day.”

A young West Indian man behind me cracks up. I’m encouraged by the audience, so I continue. “And I’m buying this Off! spray too. I’m kind of a hippie so I always try to use the natural stuff, but I’m desperate.” He laughs some more. My spirits are improving by the second. I’m shown that the racket is both rechargeable (no batteries) and doubles as a flashlight. Hot.Diggity.Damn. Oh, how I love my neighborhood mini-mart.

7:40 pm. Skinny Legs. (bar/burger joint)

My sole mission at this point is emotional eating and brain candy. I’m pleased to hear Squeeze on the speakers and indeed the entire playlist tonight seems to be classic Alternative rock and New Wave. Perfect. I locate a Rolling Stone profile of the Duke Porn Star and order a chili dog, minus the dog. This sparks conversation with my bellied-up-to-the-bar neighbors, as well as the cook. I was just saying this morning that I love how easy it is on the islands to chat with strangers.

8:40 pm. 

I am satiated and about to head home. I order my 2nd beer. Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes comes on and the (lovely) bartender says, “I LOVE this song.” I think, of course you do. She asks the guys next to me what movie this song is from. I’ve got this. I know it deeply down to my bones—pop culture junkie and music snob that I am—but it’s taking a few seconds to come to the front of my mind. But I know it, I know it, I know it….”Say Anything!” I announce, “It’s Say Anything!” sayanythingblogedit

“Yes! Right! THANK YOU,” she says.

“I thought it was Thirteen Candles,” one of the guys next to me pipes in.

“It’s Sixteen Candles. And this song is definitely not from that movie,” I say like the know-it-all that I am. I really can’t help it when it comes to this stuff.

8:45 pm.

The bartender bring me my next beer and says it’s on her for knowing the movie. Another diggity damn, my stupidly extensive rocknroll/pop culture knowledge makes itself useful for the first time in ages. My tab is blessedly low. Before I leave, the cook — for reasons unbeknownst to me — offers to pay for my next beer, even though I’ve barely touched the one in front of me. I thank him but decline. He promises next time. We’ll see.

I leave feeling warm and fuzzy about my neighborhood, my island, and my life.

9:05pm. My cottage.

The mosquitoes have inexplicably dissipated with nightfall.* This means Hershey can sleep in his own bed, outside the canopy.

I crawl, alone, inside the mosquito net and recline on my beer-damp sheets. Too exhausted to even read, I set about trying to not be awake anymore.

islandgirlatwarblogeditTomorrow will be better.

DEET, a fully-charged mosquito racket, eight hours of sleep, and a new attitude will all make for a far better day in the life of this particular island girl.


*I’ve since discovered this means they’re Asian Tiger Mosquitoes – the most aggressive and dangerous kind.


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Ashley Ladlie

About Ashley Ladlie

Ashley lives on St. John in the US Virgin Islands where she can be found drenched in sweat while communing with the hermit crabs who live in her yard. The irony of living in a shac-teau on the most remote part of a tiny secondary island in the Caribbean while spending the majority of her time with a creature named after people who prefer solitude is not lost on her.

Despite constant inquiry as to how long she’ll be on St. John, Ashley has learned in her three decades on this planet that setting one’s life plans in stone is the best way to ensure their futility. For now she remains enchanted with the beautiful absurdity on her rock of residence, which is colorful in far more ways than one.

You can hire her to write and design for you at www.badashbabe.com.

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12 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of an Easily-Overwhelmed, Increasingly-Rugged Island Girl. Part 2.

  1. I have found that Lysol spray knocks the little buggers down just as fast as any of the bug killers. Giant can cheaper than Raid, and I figure got to be better for all the mammals in the house. Makes centipedes sting themselves like crazy while you find something to smash them with (bottom of can works well). Personally, I like the citrus scent, but don’t think the mosquitoes care as they are dying. lol Let them land all over your net… then nuke them! 🙂 BTW, the ones out in daylight are the ones that carry Dengue…. had it, don’t want it again! So I went back to OFF too! Natural stuff just makes them mad. lol

  2. Yes, those are nasty skeeters and can make you really sick. Smart move to buy the Off. I think this is a day you really needed a hug!!

  3. Have you ever tried straight gin in a spray bottle?
    It has a base of evergreen, and skeeters hate it.
    And use the cheapest you can find!
    Learned about it from The Lobster Hut, back in the 70/80’s in Love City,
    had the best lobster roll sandwiches anywhere!
    I do miss owner Mr. Nose, was the greatest place!
    Carrie Ann

  4. Ashley, you just crack me up! I lived in Barbuda in the 80’s. Felt like Robinson Caruso. Mosquitos there could have driven Volkswagons had there been paved roads to drive on. I chose a 4 wheeler for transport and began a day tour and a local newspaper. But back to the subject of dracula mosquitos. The natives would take an aluminum bucket and poke nail holes all over it, (also used them for showers tied to a tree branch with a friend along to pour the water while you bathe!) They’d fill the bucket with Donkey shit and light it. They’d walk around swinging the bucket like a child at the beach with a bucket of water, centrifugal force keeping the stuff in the bucket on the upward swing. The stench of the smoking donkey shit swirled around their body like a coat of armor and mosquitos were effectivly warded “OFF”, (pun intended:) and so was I!! Only comparable smell that occurs to me is a burning month old full litter box. That smell would stay in your nose and their clothes for days. But hey, it was natural, and cost effective!

    • Aaah! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Glad you think I’m funny! OMG on the donkey shit mosquito repellant….WOW.

      Sounds like you have some CLASSIC island tales- and a knack for telling them in a humorous way. We’re always looking for new contributors- especially some who’ve been here for decades. If you’re interested in writing for us, drop us a line! We’d love to have you!

    • Ahhhh! You just reminded me that my FIL (father in law) will burn dry coconut husks and do roughly the same thing.
      I think that I will try the Gin and essential oils for sure ( although, that might cut into Gin & tonic time, but a sacrifice of Gin against Mosquitos is well worth saving me from scratching a arm or leg off ).

  5. aha, you are on St John, answered my earlier question, and you are near coral bay.
    Love the nets- used them well in El Salvador.
    Thanks for sharing.

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