They swarm, they dive bomb, they take swims in my coffee and they drive me bonkers — gnats.

Gnats are the bane of my existence right now. Even while sitting at the computer writing this column, they are persisting in their annoying little game of hovering over the screen like unwanted periods in the middle of a sentence, then shooting a straight path to my nose or right between my eyes.

Have you ever had a gnat come at you like a kamikaze and try to enter a nostril?

It’s not pretty, my friends.

I feel like a whale with a blowhole when that happens.

“Don’t inhale” takes on an entirely new meaning, too, let me tell ya.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to have a gnat sucked back into a sinus cavity?

The little buggers like to sneak up on me and land on my arms, hands or face while I’m trying to type and destroying my train of thought.

I feel that ever-so-light brush and instantaneously leave the keyboard in mid-stroke to start swatting.

The gnats don’t give up, either. If you miss them once, they circle around and land again a half-second later in a never-ending gnatty game.

If someone happened to be observing me, they’d think they were witnessing a demon possession, because the less successful I am with sending the invader on to its just rewards, the harder the slaps become out of sheer frustration.

When I connect with one, it’s definitely dead then.

So what if I have a hand mark on my cheek that lingers for awhile? That means one less gnat in the universe.

Adding insult to injury, somehow the gnats are getting into my refrigerator.

Now, the fridge is ancient — the same one I’ve been using since moving into this house two decades ago — so perhaps the seals need replacing.

Are these flying mini-menaces flattening themselves enough to get through the door openings and then succumbing to the cool temperatures?

But, why?

Why the refrigerator?

Do they smell the fruits and veggies stored there?

Do they have noses? Shoot, I even find them in the freezer!

What’s most fun about this time of year and the invasion of the gnats is finding them when you least expect them.

There’s nothing as exhilarating as taking the first sip of your coffee in the morning and feeling something solid on your tongue.

How many times have I spit into the kitchen sink after that experience?

Not as many as I once did.

I have learned to look for floaters before sipping. Perhaps I have grown a bit nonchalant about it now, but instead of dumping the whole cup of coffee, I merely fish out the offenders and then sip in peace.

My son’s birthday was earlier this month, and he wanted me to make a coconut cake from scratch to celebrate.

I had to fight the gnats over the icing, using a recipe handed down by my mother in which you prepare a syrup mixture then pour the boiling syrup over beaten egg whites.

Gnats like egg whites.

Gnats apparently like the finished icing, too, after the powdered sugar is added.

I was diligent about shooing them away and was pleased to inspect the cake and find none stuck to it.

I loaded the coconut cake and also a chocolate cake for family members who don’t like coconut and headed to my son’s house. All went well, until he started to take a bite. “Is this a gnat?” he said.

“Maybe …,” I replied. “Or perhaps a crumb of the chocolate cake.”

“I prefer to think it’s a chocolate crumb,” he said as he finished off the piece of cake.

That’s my boy.

It won’t be long until the coolness of fall sends the gnats back to the abyss in which they spawn.

It will not be a tearful goodbye. Until they return, their cousins, the ladybugs, will take over their duties.

I can’t wait.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at Lindas Inkyfingers@com

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