Friday, September 01, 2006


So I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Tiny-Bug Tunnel. I think this because my exterminator has told me that I must sleep in my bed in order to "bait" the bugs so that they cross his poison spray and cease to exist. Okay, this is somewhat akin to psychological torture -- I mean, how can I go to sleep with the knowledge that the only purpose of my body is as a warm, carbon dioxide-exhaling lure for invisible blood-suckers? How? By being psychologically prepared. I tried to pretend I was going camping, and that, like most camping trips where one sleeps in the Great Outdoors, one can expect to wake up with a couple of mosquito or spider bites. No biggie, right? Yeah...I'm camping. Bear with me: until some genius invents a Body Bait (a tiny baby one can strap into their bed, or a kitten, or some adorable endangered species), I'll have to provide my own.

So Wednesday night I did it. I was exhausted by the time I got to bed at 2am, so falling asleep wasn't especially difficult, but staying asleep was. I'll admit to some moments of prayer. In the morning I woke up, checked my bed, checked myself, and...NO BITES! Hooray, right? Well, there would be no celebrating for this former optimist; I know better now than to think that things are just going to work out so "easily" in my favor. So last night, my second night as bait, I needed a little help to get into "camping" mode. So here is where I'd like to give a Shout-Out to God and to Trader Joe's Chardonnay. Because after some prayer and two glasses of that liquid fool's gold, served with crackers spread with goat cheese and drizzled with honey (I am a classy camper, folks), I was ready to pass out and be bait. Alcohol, when applied correctly, really does work.

As I was dozing, though, I got a text from my friend who has been forced to bear witness to this fiasco, which, in turn, has turned him into as much of a paranoid freak as I have become (seriously, guys: Prevent, Don't Panic. Buy some Steri-Fab and spray your shoes and bags when you walk in the house. And vacuum. And get rid of clutter. And, if that doesn't work, shoot yourself in the face). So anyway, my friend texts me to let me know that as he rinsed some grapes in a colander (the most innocent task in the world), he found a dead moth. What to do? I told him to give the grapes a good re-wash and then eat them. In my alcoholic daze I also told him that, "A moth is a butterfly, a dandelion is a flower." What. The. Fuck? I think I was trying to make the point that a moth is only gross because of its semantic distinction, but that in fact, it's as harmless as finding a dead butterfly in your grapes. Why are dandelions weeds and not flowers? They're still pretty, right? Anyway, I am a maniac apparantly, because my poetic response did nothing to soothe him. He was grossed out. Justifiably. I fell asleep before I could finish the text-convo, but I hope he ate the grapes because, come on, grapes are delicious and moths are harmless as long as they're not in your closet.

And here's the thing. About the bugs. They have forced me to ask way too many existential questions, and one of them is: What is gross? My tolerance for disgust has increased, I think, because of their presence in my life. Time was I wouldn't eat grapes if a dead moth appeared among their branches. But now I will. Hell yeah! I remember finding larvae in some instant oatmeal I'd been eating at work, only after I'd eaten half the package. I literally dry-heaved for 20 minutes after that discovery, but was I physiologically harmed in any way? No. Not at all. And yet I was so thoroughly disgusted. Disgusted by something HARMLESS. What I should fear are the pesticides being sprayed in my room, because though they may seem benign today, there's a possibility I will feel their bite much later in my life, and if I do (and here's hoping I don't) it won't be a little welt. So what is scary and gross? The possibility of a little bite I feel today? Or, I should say, DON'T feel. Because this morning, after the second night as bait, I woke up bite-free. I was pleased!

But I will say this: eat the grapes. Get close to "filth". We're all in it together, it's us and the bugs...and the birds, and the fish, and the frogs, and the worms. And we all need food. And ultimately, we all become food.

That doesn't mean I'm totally cool with certain kinds of bugs, though. I'm allowed to have preferences. Two nights down, the rest of my life to go...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you spell M A T U R I T Y ?
Congratulations; at last.......

1:27 PM  

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