Saturday, September 29, 2012

Motherhood via bed bugs

I am concerned we may have bed bugs in the guesthouse. It's at least one explanation for the constellation of angry red planets that materialized on Wednesday in the most inconvenient places -- the side of my big toe, the tips of my elbows, that spot under my left arm that perfectly aligns with the underwire of my bra for maximum irritation. I am still searching for evidence to ascertain my conclusion, but of the two potential culprits I have spotted, one got away and I killed the other before I could examine it against the picture on Wikipedia. I certainly hope it is not bed bugs because, well, they're a thing other people get.  I remember hearing a story not so long ago on This American Life about some renters in Brooklyn who had a terrible infestation, made worse by the fact that they were too poor to move. That's right, too poor. Which is what I really mean by other people: bed bugs are a lower socioeconomic class problem, right? (Of course I know I deserve to have bed bugs by writing that.)

On the upside, if we do have bed bugs it will be chance for me to experience motherhood without ever having a kid. Let me explain.

When I was in the second grade I got lice. It was going around and so my whole class had to line up outside the school clinic and, one-by-one, get examined by the school nurse wielding a disposable wide-tooth comb.   I remember having a vague feeling of humiliation when I was quarantined after my examination and told to wait for my mother to pick me up from school early. But that was nothing compared to the humiliation my mother felt at having to retrieve a child with lice. Her disdain was akin to if I had been sent home for having a venereal disease. She was absolutely sure I had caught it from my scruffy then-best friend who lived in Pine Manor, the local slum. I am a bit ashamed I don't remember my best friend of second grade's name, but I am pretty sure it was something like Amber or Tiffany, the kind of names that only the girls who lived in Pine Manor had. In any case, my mother made it clear that once she had deloused me, she would prefer if I would spend a little less time hanging with Amber/Tiffany.

And so if we do have bed bugs, I guess I will finally get to experience my mother's shameful brand of shame. I am hopeful we don't, not just because it would be embarrassing but also itchy and costly to remedy. My husband has yet to get any bites, so maybe my own spots will turn out to be mosquitoes or ants or something less serious. In the meantime I'm keeping my tube of anti-itch gel is in easy reach.

1 comment:

  1. The same thing happened to me a few months back! It ended up being a mosquito that would ONLY bite me and not my husband.

    And when I told people at work about it, they swore there were 'no mosquitoes this time of year.' Fucking liars, I have the bites to prove it.