Saturday, June 03, 2006

Lovebugs


The little Volkswagen beetle was affectionately called a "bug" by many. We had one from about 1965 until perhaps 1978, and along the way also had first a 1961 VW Microbus until we replaced it with a shiny new 1972 Microbus. That had one friend of mine very upset. Al always prided himself in having the newest car in the crowd, and suddenly his 1971 Microbus wasn't the newest. About the only visible difference between his beige and white 'bus and my beige and white 'bus was the shape of the cooling air intake louvers just behind the rearmost side windows. His had a curved rear profile while the newer model had a straight rear edge, only rounded a bit at the top and the bottom. I doubt that many people could even see the difference, or knew, but Al was a true yuppie more than a dozen years before the word was coined to describe people like him, people who always had to have the newest, best, fanciest, most expensive whatever.

Florida has always been noted for its bugs, the real kind, the kind the creeps, crawl, or flies. Everything from mosquitos to sand flies to palmetto bugs. The first two bite and make you itch. Palmetto bugs are mostly just a nuisance, and get to be about an inch and a half long and nearly an inch across. They're big bugs! If you're driving in the summer probably the most annoying bug of all is the love bug. There's no way to avoid getting dozens of them on the front of your car and windshield. They make no effort to get out of the way because they're otherwise occupied. They're on a mating flight. They're copulating while they fly, hence the name "love bug". Every time you smack into one you're smacking into TWO of them! The vertical blunt front of the VW Microbus is a great way to hit lots of them. Supposedly the splattered bugs are hell on your paint job so people rush to scrub them off as quickly as possible. In this 1973 photo, made just after driving across the state to St. Petersburg, I had quite a love bug collection. If we hadn't driven through multiple thunderstorms on the way over you'd have a hard time seeing the car at all, what with all the bugs that'd be there.

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