kiki on 10/03/2010
Bedbugs ruined my life
I've had to clear out almost everything, paring down to monkish essentials. Last 7 years, I dismantled my hallway bookcases, a last-ditch effort that netted 22 boxes of books. I am a reader, I've lived here since 10 years, and what we're talking about now is a fundamental shift. Lying on my milky mattress, they're what I miss most. Some of it a little dated, the French language tapes, that difficult book on the body as text. Or the text embodied. Or the body as metaph
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or for words on the page. I never really got that, and it's all a buggy blurs now. It's not like lit theory is going to get me out of this.
I call 311 they told me there are no bedbugs in NYC Miss so I review my safety measures, derived from Internet reading: every time I go out, I first disrobe at the door and change into clean clothes. Those clean clothes are kept in a twist-tied plastic bag. I stick with one pair of shoes and spray them, inside and out, with whatever harsh-smelling chemicals the hardware store is hawking.
I call a friend to help me to wash every piece of clothing. People eye me in Laundromats. They wonder why anyone would have 13 loads. And I think the same way, full of sidelong suspicions: Who was in here before me? How safe are these washers? Was the last guy as careful as I'm trying to be now? But in the end, the accusation turns on itself: I am infested. That's not an easy thing to hear you say.
Nobody did know anything about them, And as for where they come from, there's really no good answer. The truth is, no one has found a way to avoid this, and my landlord twisted the knife a little deeper: You have some iffy visitors, she said. You invite the wrong company. Whoever it is you have in your bed, they are clearly to be blamed. Blame is what these bugs are all about. It's central to how the problem is dealt with. And as my landlord explained, the exterminator's bill would be coming my way.
"It's our policy that you're liable for bringing them in here." As long as they're only found in my apartment, I am responsible for associated costs. No neighbors have complained, so I was in the dark. When I called the city's Department of Environmental Health, I got nothing.
My home is chronically sick. My life, too, is taking a beating. I was depressed.