Poison ivy is so unfair. What possible reason can it have to be so mean? I just walked by it. (Apparently, although I’m not sure where; I mean, somewhere while camping, obviously, but exactly where I’m not sure.) I didn’t try to eat it or anything, and yet it has given me the itchies.
The other unfair part is that my XY is immune to poison ivy. He crashes through bushes of the stuff with no effect while I have what’s euphemistically referred to as “sensitive skin.” Sensitive, harumph. This makes it sound as if my skin is poetical and thoughtful. What I really have is wildly over-reactive, screaming primadonna skin. Spider bites, the spikes on squash plants, cleaning products — all make me blister and itch. (Okay, I might be exaggerating on the cleaning products, but it’s a good excuse for avoiding bathroom scrubbing.)
Doesn’t help that the deserts of Oregon where we like to camp are full of sharp, aggressive things. We actually rate the plants and wildlife on the following scale:
This category includes the rock lizards that gape their mouths at us when we get too close and the sage brush that won’t yield when you try to pass but are otherwise harmless.
This would be the yellow-flowering cactus that will go through boot leather, but only if you step on it, and the rattlesnakes that are (mostly) inclined to let you go with a warning shake of the tail.
Saw grass looks nice from a distance, but the merest brush against its blades (oh, right, that’s why they call them blades) will slice you open. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they usually grow in hummocks so you risk breaking an ankle walking around them. I’m fairly certain they suck the blood of the victims they incapacitate. On the plus side, no Oregon desert animals fall into this murderous category, unless you count me when the Donettes run out.
“And your little dog too”:
The worst of the worst. There is a plant called a sandspur that litters the sandy paths with small brutal landmines. They are the same basic shape as tank traps only way sharper, with spines going in all directions so there is no way to miss damaging yourself. Even poor Monster Girl, who manages to avoid almost all the other pains of desert camping, is plagued by these evil plants.
Poison ivy really only falls into the bad tempered category, but right now it’s hard to appreciate the distinction. Must go itch.