Friday, July 04, 2008

Little Things

I’m pretty good at dealing with the big things in life: cancer, the death of loved ones (though not quite so well with aging), but it is the little things…the endless, niggling minor frustrations and irritations which mean absolutely nothing in the overall scheme of things…which drive me to utter distraction. The big things I understand I have no control over, but the little things, the things that can happen to anyone but seem only to happen to me; the things that, if they do happen to other people are dispatched with casual ease, are what get to me and infuriate me with my inability or incompetence to deal with.

It was very hot last night. I have been sleeping on my sleeper sofa for the past week due to my bed being overrun by the bedbugs which have been infesting my building. The exterminators have been in no fewer than six times. Count ‘em…six. And each time they come, I am required to remove all the pictures from my walls (still not sure why, but mine is not to reason why), empty out all my drawers, remove everything from night stands, bookshelves, closets, etc. Where I am to put these mountains of materials in a very very small apartment is not their concern. Every single item of clothing, every piece of bedding must be laundered. And so I do.

And they come. And they spray, and then I replace all the pictures on the walls, put everything back in the drawers and on the shelves and in the closets and remake the bed (including replacing the full-mattress, zippered antimicrobial and antibacterial mattress cover (ever tried to do that by yourself? Pure joy, I can assure you.). And then two weeks later they come back, and I must remove all the pictures from the walls, empty out all my drawers, remove everything from night stands,…get the idea? And then two weeks later they come back.

Oh, and then they tell me I am “not prepared.” Jeesus!!

On their last visit, I asked the man doing the spraying if I had it all right this time and he said yes. I then left the apartment (a requirement) for four hours, taking my cat down to my friend Gary’s apartment for safekeeping. When I returned, I noticed that the only thing in the entire apartment the exterminators had touched was the bed.

That night, confident that all was finally over, I juggled and struggled to get the zippered full-mattress cover back on, made the bed with freshly laundered sheets, and went to bed. I awoke two hours later with itching, and got up to find three bedbugs strolling casually over my sheets.

I am told the problem lies with my wooden captain’s bed, which I purchased (around $500 without mattress) shortly before I moved to Chicago. Because it is wood and has lots of detail work which afford lots of joints for bedbugs to crawl between and breed, no matter how thoroughly or how often they spray, the eggs survive to hatch anew.I have been told I will probably have to get rid of the bed. Oh, sure. No problem at all. What’s $500. And of course the mattress will have to go, too. Another, what?, $300 or so? And then because bedbugs can get in carpets, I’ll have to throw out my living room rug, also new when I moved in.

Okay, I know full well that all this is hardly on the level of genocide in Darfur, or global warming, or the oil crisis or the delightful Whitman’s sampler of new wars our beloved leaders are eager to open up. My bitching and moaning and feeling terribly put upon is laughable. Unfortunately, I”m not laughing.

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