Society will be greeted with an exciting visitor this summer — the periodical cicadas of Brood X. We sat down with a member of the brood to welcome them to 2021.
Hey! Thanks so much for talking with me today. And can I just say, welcome to 2021 above ground!
Hello? Is there something wrong with the connection?
No, sorry, I was a little excited. I just got out of my hole and arrived at the tree where I’ll be staying for the next few weeks and saw that we have complimentary WiFi.
Those little amenities are always exciting.
It’s always nice to see an AirBnTree host go above and beyond for their guests, you know?
So now that you’re out in the open for the first time since 2004, what are you looking forward to most?
Well all I’ve heard these past few months — as all 1.5 million of us in this acre of land were getting ready to emerge — was how good the TV selection has gotten up here. We haven’t had much to watch other than tree roots grow and cicada drama in the past 17 years.
Definitely. There are so many streaming services these days and plenty to catch up on. Anything in particular you’re interested in?
I mean, I’ve only heard good things about The Queen’s Gambit, of course. But I also wouldn’t be mad at dipping my six feet into some comedy. I heard that there are “outdoor” comedy shows these days and I’d love to see if there are any new cicada jokes or if they’re still telling the same old ones.
Got any examples?
Cicadas are so underground, they joined TheFacebook before it was cool.
I can see why you’d want some new material. You’re looking for quite the range of content though.
Yeah, I’m not too picky. We have only a few weeks to scream as loud as we can, find a mate and lay some eggs before we’re all dead. Life is short, so why limit yourself?
I totally feel you. That’s been so apparent for a lot of us up here this past year.
I’ve heard about the pandemic. It must have been awful. But look on the bright side, it was only for a year! You know, I’ve been cooped up underground for 17 years with trillions of my family, friends and enemies.
Yeah, it’s been rough for everyone. But we’re almost about to emerge ourselves.
Hot Cicada Summer! It’ll be so fun.
So outside of television, are you mostly here for cicada business?
Absolutely. Finding some hot and local singles in the area is the main gig.
You seem to have a lot of options. Anything in particular you’re looking for in a mate?
Gosh, what aren’t I looking for!? I love a guy with big wings and giant, red eyes. And the louder they scream in my face the better. But honestly I’m not too picky.
After 17 years underground, have you found your standards getting lower?
They can’t get much lower than where I was before we got up here! But I would say they’ve gotten more realistic.
When I was a young nymph I dreamed of finding the right guy who would make me feel like one in a billion. Someone who would bring me tree sap when I was feeling a little low or would fly into some open car windows with me and cause a little mayhem when I was looking for an adventure.
You don’t want to feel special anymore?
I mean, I only have about a month up here to lay my eggs and then die. So it’s become all about finding the most obnoxious member of the Cicada Boy Band.
Is there anything you’ve encountered since emerging that you weren’t expecting?
The new music has been so much fun. I’ve been jamming to 100 Gecs for hours! I didn’t think humans were able to create their own cicada droning, but you guys really nailed it.
Do you feel like your short time with us won’t be enough to take in everything you want?
That’s an interesting question. I am sad that I probably won’t be able to catch a screening of both Nomadland and Minari, but just one will be a pleasure. And it is a nice feeling that the brood is getting so much attention and influencing the conversation too. It’s all about impact.
Should people be afraid of the brood and your “impact”?
Oh gosh, no way! We’re just here to screw and party like everyone else this summer! We don’t bite and aren’t venomous. The worst thing that’ll happen is we wake you up earlier than normal, but how is that any different from your neighbor mowing the lawn at 7 am?
Is that all?
Okay, sure, some of our discarded skins might interrupt a picnic or fall on your head while you’re hiking, but I don’t see why you’d be bothered by that.
Well I don’t want to take up too much of your short time with us so one last question: What do you hope your children will find up here when they get to emerge in 2038?
Hopefully some more great cicada-specific human music, that was a fun surprise. But it would be cool to find a world that takes a hint from us cicadas; protect and take care of one another in an overwhelming way. Like by coming out in such large numbers that your natural predators can’t eat all of you.
Well, we don’t have many natural predators but I have my fingers crossed for that as well. Anything else you’d like to add?
No, one of the other 14 broods of cicadas that are still underground sent some sparkling tree sap to congratulate us on emerging, so it’s time for Hot Cicada Summer to start. Toodles!
Connor Relyea is a a writer and actor based in New York City. He studied satire writing with the Second City. His comedy writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, Robot Butt and Points in Case. Despite popular rumors, he is absolutely not five corgis hiding inside a trench coat. Follow him @CRelyea12.