Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pestilence (warning: gross)

Bedbugs. Here's proof positive that even clean-living, Ikea-lovin', elfa-shelving urban dwellers are easy victims to the scourge of bedbugs.

We thought we did everything right. We tsk-tsk'd at Maya Rudolph suing her landlord over an infestation and went to sleep every night with self-satisfied smiles, knowing our cleanliness and organization would keep us safe from all little piece of shit bugs.

Except...we live in a mulit-unit apartment building in New York City, populated with all kinds of people who may or may not know that used mattresses are a spectacularly bad idea. Except our super tells us stories of our neighbors slovenliness, i.e. the chicken in the bathtub.

We went online after the first bites, hoping it was just fleas from the new kitten. A trip to the vet discounted that idea. We started each day with an inventory: "Any new bites today?" They are itchy, gigantic red blotches. Worse than the bites, even, is the constant "creepy-crawly" sensation and the shame. We wear long-sleeved shirts and try not to scratch at the dozens of itchy fucking welts. We consider setting fire to the place.

We tore the apartment apart, vacuuming every inch of everything, taping down cracks, zipping the bed into protective bags, setting out double-stick tape traps to confirm the presence of little johnny appleseed fuckers. Over the weekend, we hit pay dirt. Three blood-filled bedbugs made their ugly appearance and were promptly introduced into (separate, as to discourage breeding) ziploc bags for evidentiary purposes.

Now, if your home becomes infested with bedbugs you have exactly three choices:
1. Do nothing,
2. Take extremely aggressive measures, or
3. Move and start over from scratch — take nothing with you.

Our landlord went ballistic when I called. There's clearly been a big problem in the building and she decided it was all my fault. You see, we don't let the exterminator in to the apartment when we're here because I am extremely allergic to insecticide -- two terrifying trips to the ER after previous exposures convinced me not to press my luck anymore. But they are welcome to come on in when we're gone for the weekend, and we are frequently gone for the weekend. Anyway, this management company representative was quick to assign blame to me for the infestation. Nice! I think we'll skip right to option #3.

Maybe, instead of chemical insecticides that will potentially kill me along with the bedbugs, we should go out in search of more house centipedes. They apparently feast on roaches and bedbugs, I've learned. They can, but don't, bite humans. I can stand the grotesquely undulating sight of multiple centipedes zooming around the apartment if it means no more bedbugs, you know?

Ah, fuck. Maybe it's a just sign that it's time to move the fuck out of New York City.

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