A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
I am itchy. I am so, so itchy.
I don’t have any bites on me to speak of, but I could! At any moment.
I had a minor freak out after I read last week’s story about a hoard of weatherproof, sewer-bred, insatiable mutant prehistoric flesh-eating alien monster mosquitoes. I’m pretty sure that’s scientifically accurate.
Turns out they have taken over multiple blocks on West 84th street, to the point where residents are now sleeping under mosquito netting as though they live on some amazing tropical island where the trade-off for phenomenal weather and carefree days is swarms of insects the size of catchers mitts. Except they don’t. They live on the Upper West Side where the air is currently quite chilly and life is filled with all sorts of earthly worries. Not cool, bugs. Totally not cool.
Despite being extremely distressing to me as a neighborhood resident, not to mention totally way ick, I have to admit that I felt some amount of relief after the freak out subsided.
Because I, too, have been finding bites on my person with some regularity, though not in such quantities as those reported by those poor folks on 84th street. And with each passing week inching closer to winter, each bite found makes me more and more suspicious that the culprits are not airborne, but rather . . . I can’t say it . . .
It doesn’t take much to feed my raging phobia, and an itchy welt in the middle of a snowstorm is enough to set off my highest internal alert. SOUND THE ALARMS! CALL THE EXTERMINATORS! CALL THE PRESIDENT! ARM THE NUKES! It can’t be but one thing, because everyone knows there are no mosquitoes after October! The bugs fly south for the winter, just like everyone else! We have a deal: they suck us dry from around May/June – late September/October (depending on how long the humidity lasts), and we remain blissfully skeeter-free during the rest of the year.
And while this sewer bug situation is in blatant disobedience of the terms of our agreement, in light of other, much more terrifying invaders, I can find the silver lining here. For I will take a (non-West Nile virus carrying) mosquito in my home any day over an insidious community of you-know-whats hiding beneath my sheets.
For those of you who don’t suffer from my debilitating phobia, this may sound dumb. A real swarm of vicious mosquitoes armed for winter is much worse than an imaginary bed bug infestation. But you’ve got no idea the mental fires that I can put out when a little red bump on my arm can go from OHMYGODWE’REALLGOINGTODIE to: it’s just a mosquito.
But no, seriously, I want them all to die painfully in great numbers and never bother us again. If I had it my way, all bugs would perish and/or be rounded up and rocketed off to Pluto, where they would grow strong and develop in nuclear proportions, organize, develop weaponry, and wage war against the planet Earth in a movie called Starship Troopers 1, 2, 3, 45678 and prequel.
Oh, wait. No. New plan. I’ve got it! We build a giant bubble . . .
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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