It is an unsettling feeling to come home and find there is an intruder in your home. Especially if it buzzes constantly and loudly.
I first encountered this intruder when I got home from work the other day. My family wasn’t home at the time, so the lone occupants of the house should have been two lazy dogs, asleep in their beds.
But they were not alone.
I walked into the house and crossed through the dining room toward the back of the house, where the dogs hang out when we’re gone. I heard it as I approached the dogs: BZZZZZ.
I looked around to see what was making the noise. Nothing.
I looked at the dogs. They were helpful, as usual, and did nothing.
I went to let the dogs out the back door, and I heard it again. BZZZZZ. I looked at the sliding glass door. It was somewhere near there.
Now I was raised in nature. My dad is a retired biologist, and I was fortunate to spend much of my childhood rounding up critters. My son has inherited the gene, and a good chunk of our weekends are spent trying to find critters.
But we usually do that outdoors. I feel that is a far more even playing field than hiding inside my den.
I was pretty sure the buzz was coming from somewhere near the curtains that hang near our back door. I stood by them and listened. My intruder was silent.
I waited for a good 10 minutes (editor’s note: it was about 12 seconds) and heard nothing. I walked away from the den for a moment.
I came back into the den and went into full alert mode. I grabbed a flashlight and began searching for the intruder. I looked in front of the curtains. Behind the curtains. On top of the curtains. Nothing.
I pulled the curtains up and found this fun fact: Our curtains are two-ply. There is a big opening at the bottom, and I feel fairly confident I am the first one to discover this. Otherwise, my son would have spent plenty of time in there, just biding his time until his sister came in the room, and he could scare the bejesus out of her with his haunted curtain prank.
I was inside the curtain and I heard it again. At this point, I am standing fully upright, a flashlight in my hand, completely covered by curtains on all sides. I’m in a cocoon for all intents and purposes, and tracking my buzzing intruder, whose identity is still unknown. I’ve got a flashlight shining inside the curtain, but let’s be honest here — that flashlight doesn’t help much when the buzzing merchant of death decides to attack.
So I bailed from the curtain. I rationalized this by telling myself that I did not know, in fact, if the buzzing intruder was in my curtain. The only way to know that, I rationalized, was to removed the entire curtain and put it somewhere else. The couch on the other side of the room seemed a good place to start.
With the curtain safely moved to a different locale, I stood in the middle of the room, flashlight at the ready.
It did not come from the area on the couch where I had just moved the curtain, but rather from the very location the curtain had just been.
I approached the area. BZZZZZ. BZZZZZ. BZZZZZ.
My intruder was getting more confident.
BZZZZZ. BZZZZZ. BZZZZZ.
I shined my flashlight down into the track of the sliding glass door. There, on its back, was a tiny cicada, not even an inch long.
BZZZZZ. BZZZZZ. BZZZZZ.
I realized this was not a battle cry, but a buzz for help. As it vibrated against the metal track, it made a far louder noise than a cicada of any size should make. I picked up the little fella, opened the door, and set him free. He gave me a little buzz of thank you as he flew off.
I am pleased to have tracked down the source of the buzz and was able to get him back out into nature where he belonged. My next logical step, of course, was to wait for my family to return. Inside the haunted curtain.