We are here, you will recall, to discuss The Bug issue.
Well, not “discuss” in the traditional format, obviously; you are there and I am here and there’s a temporal disconnect as well. More “discuss” in the book club sense; I’ll tell you a story, and then maybe we’ll have a discussion question at the end. Won’t that be fun?
Shut up, it’s better than working. And if you’re not reading on your employer’s time it’s not my fault.
My house, still strewn with half-unpacked or still-taped boxes labeled things like “BR MISC AND ALSO” because Past Me is an asshole who thought I would enjoy puzzles.
I do not.
You know what else is all over the goddamned house? BUGS. Fucking everywhere. Every morning I wake up and take a tour of the place, sweeping up fresh corpses (not sure if they’re coming in here to die or if Hamilton just gets full halfway through his midnight murder spree and leaves the bodies at the scene) and I spend much of my day being disgusted when I find something that clearly belongs outside wandering around my not-yet-pristine-but-getting-there inside. And I don’t just mean spiders or ants. Jesus, I could handle ants—ants are easy! But crickets? To recap Tuesday’s material for those who missed that lesson, if ever there was an insect wholly uninterested in gaining entry to your home, it’s the humble cricket. They are as outdoorsy as I am… whatever the opposite of outdoorsy is. (My dream is to die of Freon poisoning.)
HIM: You know, we don’t really use Freon anymore.
HIM: We mostly use blah blah oh my god I’m so smart can you believe all the things I know?
ME: Whatever, then.
HIM: I’m just saying—
ME: Does it attract crickets?
ME: Then it’s not the point!
When we first arrived in this house, there was a giant-ass bug*stuck on its back right in the middle of the entryway. I filmed it and showed this to the property management rep who came ‘round to do paperwork. He sort of shrugged it off and said if I was ever really bothered by bugs I could put in a maintenance request. Knowing me as you do, I’m sure you can guess how long it took for me to be “really bothered.”
A bug guy comes to my door. “I hear you’ve got cockroaches?”
“Shh…” I say, “they might hear you!”
Bug Guy is now concerned. He realizes he has allowed himself to become trapped in a house with a madwoman.
I lead him to the teeny kitchen, explaining as we go. “I clean out this cabinet every few days. With disinfecting wipes, mind—I’m not messing around. But a few days pass and…” here I open wide the cabinet which resides over my inadequate sink, gesturing with a flourish, “little black flecks. See?”
Bug Guy leans up on tiptoe, peers into the cabinet. “Oh yeah,” he agrees, running a finger through the disgusting evidence that bugs not only exist in my home but come to my kitchen to take a dump. “Looks like springtails.” He settles back on his heels, stares at me.
I am nonplussed. Springtail? Isn’t that an African ungulate?
No, that’s a springbok. Still, it sounds like… maybe it’s a seed pod? Have I overreacted? I do that sometimes… “What’s a springtail?”
“It’s nothing,” Bug Guy hedges while maintaining eye contact, “It’s a… they’re not fatal.” He hasn’t blinked.
“Okay,” I prompt, “but what is it?”
“It’s just a… they’re really common. They’re nothing. It’s not dangerous.”
“Okay,” I feel my grip on the situation unraveling. “You’re just saying words. What. Is. It.”
“It’s just… I mean, it’s a pest,” he allows.
“It’s a bug,” I correct.
“Well… yeah.” Bug Guy—and I must emphasize how very odd this is—has not stopped staring at me as if I’m the fucking weirdo in this conversation.
“That,” I fling out my arm, indicating the dishes stacked high in case he missed the implication, “is my kitchen cabinet! We eat off those plates!” Bug Guy nods, but doesn’t cease his idiot staring, so I continue the painful, obvious, out-loud-thinking-for-him process because at least I’m not paying this dolt. “There shouldn’t be bugs in there!”
“Oh,” Bug Guy agrees, “If you want to take everything out of the cabinets, the stuff I’ve got will take care of ‘em.” He turns, calling over his shoulder, “I’ll just spray outside first, so if you wanna take care of those cabinets I can come in and do inside last.”
Now, I’ve done an informal poll of some people—fine, it was Alexis and Husband, but I maintain that’s a sufficient sample for the question at hand—and the consensus is that Bug Guy’s behavior was weird. But I’ll put it to you lot anyway, in the name of Science:
If you find out that there are bugs in your kitchen, does it matter how “dangerous” they are? Is there a bug that’s acceptable to have inhabiting your cabinets, crawling all over your dishes and pooping in your cereal bowls?
* Later identified as a June bug. Which… I’m sorry, I always assumed they were tiny. I mean, the name is so cute! Gift of spring my ass!