"The kids don't know what that means," I told her.
When flying termites swarm on hot muggy nights like tonight, our family turns off all the lights and spends the rest of the evening in the dark. That's because termites are attracted to light, and if they see our lights, they might bore their way into our wooden house and make it fall down in the night.
Periodically, houses across Honolulu are covered by what looks like huge colorful balloons, blue, red, yellow, or striped like the picture to the right, as they're fumigated for termites, so this is a real problem.
Nevertheless, when I told some Mainland friends about Termite night and sitting as a family in the dark throughout my childhood and youth, they were flabbergasted at the thought.
"You sit in the dark? The entire family?"
"Isn't there another way to deal with termites?"
Well, honestly, if there is, we never even thought to figure it out. It's just easier to turn off the lights and sit in the dark--often we watch TV, the low flickering lights being too weak to lure our wood-chewing enemies.
As Mama just informed Kai-Kai, "No sense luring those termites to come chomp on our house!"
When Mama turned off the lights, Baba was still eating dinner. He's now wiping off the dining room table in the shadowy light the kitchen casts. Despite her warnings, Mama's rinsing dishes with the light on. The kids are attempting to give each other spa massages in the dark and asking for flashlights. I'm sitting in the living room with only my laptop for light.
It may be crazy, but after all, it's termite night again.