THE AWAKENING OF THE SLEEPERS
Washington, D.C., is under attack! Swarms of Qaedas are invading the nation’s capital. In recent weeks they have attacked weddings and graduations. They’ve infested homes, woods and fields, even office buildings. Fearful citizens are postponing barbecues - and even jogging - until autumn. For years, these Qaedas, have been living underground. Sleepers. Now they’ve emerged to challenge all that America stands for.
Oops, I’m wrong: it’s cicadas that are attacking, not Qaedas. Every 17 years the vaguely revolting species of insect known as Brood X emerges from the ground to grow wings, breed and die, all within a few weeks. Males emit high-decibel mating calls, which might be romantic if they weren’t counted in the trillions. As I write, Brood X cicadas are attacking in 15 states from Ohio to Virginia.
They are harmless. Cicadas literally couldn’t hurt a fly. But they are loud. Their “song” - which one scientist likens to the sound of “flying saucers from a 1950s sciencefiction movie” - can hit 90 decibels. They’re also slow and tend to fly into things that get in their way, such as people. And no doubt about it, they take up a lot of space. In certain Virginia suburbs, you can’t walk across a playground without crushing hundreds of them. Swarms can weigh up to 1.5 tons per acre.
(…) Everybody, it seems, is making money from the invasion. In Washington, hotels offer holiday cicada packages. Artists sell silly cicada paintings at even sillier prices. Websites offer T-shirts with slogans like “Cicada: The ultimate Low - Carb Snack.”
Call me mad, but after spending a weekend with Brood X, I actually think the cicadas might do the world a service. With Washington obsessed with its global war on terror, increasingly wary of all things forever, the cicadas seem to have introduced a new tolerance of the Other in the capital. Like my 22-month-old niece, who treats the mysterious visitors like honored guests, picking them up and even trying to play with them, Washingtonians are displaying renewed appreciation for things that are different from themselves - instead of ignoring or crushing them. Who knows? Maybe a little cicada love will even reach the White House.
SPEAK UP. Edição 210, novembro/2004.
Cicadas – cigarras
The ultimate low-carb snack – o melhor tira-gosto com poucos carboidratos
Brood X – (lit.) ninhada X
The author can be called of Mad, because
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