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Bedbug Stowaway

Posted: September 27th, 2010 | Author: | | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Lower Manhattan, 2008.  It was the first day of spring truly warm enough to sit outside for lunch.  I left the office tower overlooking ground zero and headed over to Centre Street to get a cup of soup.  The weather was fair, so I ate seated on a park bench in City Hall Park.  At the end of the day, I passed through the park again, and boarded the M train back to Bushwick.  The train was not crowded at Chambers St., so sat down on the slick, cold, powder blue bench and began to rummage through my bag in search of my phone.  On the black surface of the bag’s exterior, something amber caught my eye.  I forgot about the phone, wondering about the tiny seedlike spot on my bag.  I looked more closely.  Some kind of insect, nestled in the velcro closure.  Gross.  I grabbed a pen from my bag and used the tip to prise it off and onto the empty seat beside me.  It was small, but much too large to be a bedbug, right?  I mean, aren’t they supposed to be the size of a pepper flake? (As it happens, bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed).  I had no problem making out its horrid little details as it sat there, inert and ugly.  A tick or some kind of beetle, I thought.  I took a photo that I might consult the internet.

The train filled up and everyone kept their distance from the unwanted passenger.  Not knowing what it was, I let the ugly little fellow be and promptly forgot all about it.  Two months later I was greeted by the A.M. paper at that station, its shrill cover announcing “Epidemic!” and covered with a dozen huge copies of my little stowaway.  The ICK traveled forward through time.  Bedbug!  My innocence was thus lost.  No mere accidental tourist, that was a villain, a saboteur cleaving to the fibers of my bag’s closure, hoping to smuggle itself into my bedroom to feast on me at night.  “I had a bedbug!  And I nearly brought it home!”, my mind shrieked and chattered.  But where had it come from?  Subway cars are likely culprits, due to the volume of human traffic.  But I had just boarded the train.  My recollection flew back to the park bench, also suspect.  City Hall Park is host to travellers, office workers, walkers of large breeds and crazypants vagrants alike.  It is definitely possible it came from the office , but it seemed unlikely to me in this case since the space was very new, I sat in an isolated area entirely by myself, and had never been bitten there.  The park bench was definitely a variable element in my day.  City Hall Park.  Where is America’s Mayor when you need him??  Probably off whispering “9-11” into the ear of a prostitute.  It is lucky I dispatched the loathsome fellow myself.  I never sit on park benches now without giving a good little once over.  These days, even my office chair gets a periodic check.  Shudder.

3 Comments on “Bedbug Stowaway”

  1. 1 Alyssa said at 9:04 pm on September 27th, 2010:

    WOW, freaky. That is one of my big fears. You let him live? Are those things hard to squash? I haven’t seen one up close, but I imagine they either explode or are impossible to mush, like a flea.

  2. 2 HJM said at 10:44 pm on September 27th, 2010:

    I didn’t know it was PLAGUE or I would have killed it. I guess we all have those big moments in life we would do over.

  3. 3 Nix Bedbugs » Blog Archive » Scarred for Life: Healing Embarrassing Bedbug Scars said at 5:14 pm on September 29th, 2010:

    […] The catch-22 is that the best way to be free of scars is never to get bitten at all. See our advice about avoiding bedbugs in a hotel. You must keep your eye trained on potential threats, since they can pop up in offices, schools, and even on park benches. […]

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