A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
I have to be honest, I feel a little vindicated right now.
Yesterday, it was reported that MRSA, a drug-resistant staph bacteria, was found on three bedbugs in Vancouver, Canada. Disclosure time: there’s no definitive finding that the carrier bugs had actually spread the germ, the study was small and preliminary, and it’s unclear as to whether the bugs got the bug from the patients or vice versa. Blah blah blah blah. The point is, I and all my fellow bedbug-phobes were right to be as unreasonably terrified as we are. A big, fat “oooh really!” to all ye who have dismissed our panic by saying, “well, it’s not like they spread disease,” or “it’s just unpleasant, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
No, we were not aware of this study. But somehow we knew. Deep in our hearts and our fear glands, we knew there was more to these suckers than just, well, sucking. We’ve long been aware of the permanent and profound psychological damage bedbugs inflict, but now we have something to wave in the faces of the tough guys who wrote us off, told us we were “crazy” or “hysterical” or “seriously, Nina, I’m worried about you. Have you thought about medication?” Pssht.
Sub-disclosure: I care not for the maybes and ifs and qualifiers of the first disclosure. What they’ve got so far is more than good enough for me. Now that there is an actual health hazard (as far as I am concerned), my bedbug paranoia has intensified to truly senseless levels. There is nothing so dangerous to a phobia as even a hint of legitimacy. The two have a chemical reaction which causes the phobia to swell and solidify until it is a bloated, rock-solid mass of impenetrable derangement which the afflicted carries around and trots out at even the slightest tangential provocation, to everyone’s discomfort. It’s nice.
Where was I? Oh yes, bedbugs will kill us all. You heard it here first. Don’t come running to me saying you wished you’d listened when I warned you about the following places: movie theaters, Broadway theaters, off-Broadway theaters, off-off-Broadway theaters, subways, buses, taxis, libraries, thrift shops, clothing stores, shoe stores, furniture stores, storage facilities, hostels, hotels, hotel lobbies, hotel bars, karaoke bars, bars with couches, conference rooms, your office, my office, rental cars, train cars, public benches, and Internet cafes.
There are probably more, but I’m too itchy to continue.
Have a great weekend, everyone. I will be hermetically sealing myself inside a bubble and doing the same for my husband and dog. We will be the bubble family, and all the world will know us by the squeaky, plasticky sound we make as we approach, as well our cartoonish, galumphing theme song. You know the one.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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