On the treacherous experience of bed bugs

One common misconception about bed bugs is that only “gross” people carry them. “Oh, she’s dirty; she must have brought in the bed bugs”, or “I definitely didn’t bring in those gross-ass bed bugs; I shower every damn day”. But no, one is “above” bed bugs; bed bugs are a real worldwide phenomenon that have been happily traveling among humans / human luggage for as long as we can remember (the things are older than dinosaurs, for Christ’s sake! From the same era as our fellow city friends, the cockroach species—which: S/O to those little guys, too).

They hide behind picture frames, lay eggs above doorways—hell, they might even be in the ceiling! You just never know where one might be hiding (check your bag now).

I was one of those “I’m too good for bedbugs” people when I first came into encounter with the horrible parasite back in Los Angeles a few years back. “F*CK NO! I didn’t bring in those bugs!” I exclaimed, as my roommate broke the news to me that our Koreatown building was infested. Meaning: my LA dreams of Hollywood and palm trees and sunshine were forever plagued by the fact I had to throw away ALL of my stuff, including a wooden violin that I had been renting to own the past four years.

The infestation was SO bad that I would go to open up a book of mine, and one of the bloody things would crawl right out casually, as if it was coming along to read with me in the park (AND SUCK ALL OF MY HUMAN BLOOD).

Soon after throwing the majority of my personal belongings in the garbage, I started to completely block the experience from my memory. So when I moved to the east coast on a new clean bedbug slate, I was back to my anti-bedbug-getting attitude, forgetting that at any given moment in time you are susceptible to the little guys crawling up on your shit, coming home to your precious abode, and then laying little baby bedbug eggs all over your apartment so that soon your home will be infested with little bedbug families.

Oh, silly me for ever thinking it would never happen to me again.

I’m not saying the west coast has superior bed bugs, but the situation seemed a tiny bit less horrible than my most recent NYC experience. I was priced out of my Crown Heights apartment since the lease holders decided to move elsewhere, and I was forced to do one of those last minute Brooklyn apartment hunts that everyone loves so much (not really).

Luckily I was able to find something without too ridiculous of a price in Brooklyn, and was actually surprised at how nice the apartment was: brand new appliances, wood floors, high ceilings—it was too good to be true, as most things are in the city. I even went ahead and ordered my first official NYC bed (tempurpedic!); after two years of moving around month-to-month, I was home. FINALLY.

UNTIL…there were bed bugs. And there had been bedbugs for two years. And nobody had told me about the bedbugs, nor did anybody properly eradicate the bedbugs. So those bedbugs had other baby bedbugs (it has been said they produce up to 5 a day; after two years, you do the math), and yeah. Somewhat of a problem for me and my new “home” (does anybody want to sleep along an exposed brick wall where thousands of bedbugs lay??? Anyone?).

Admittedly I never felt a bite the first three months I lived in the apartment; I had never even heard anyone talk about how there had been previous issues; I was just a clueless girl living among a secret wall of tens of thousands of bedbugs. Probably something to do with the fact I never reacted to them, but the thought of a bunch of bedbugs crawling all over you in the middle of the night unbeknownst to you is somewhat of a terrifying thing that causes great psychological turmoil; to quote Metallica quite literally, I was going to SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN.

So I advise you, reader, get out while you can. Just don’t bring anything with you. Throw it all away NOW (but don’t forget to bag everything up first in a thick black garbage bag!).

But seriously. Throw it all away. Run now, while you still can.

(photo via Baby Mingle)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.