In this installment, we learn that bed bugs are taking a significant toll on Brown’s self-identity and social life:
Despite my anger, even our bug-laden living situation is finally normalizing. This process started first as a change in identity: I now think of myself as ‘the guy with bedbugs.’ It’s how I introduce myself. Maybe it’s not the first thing I say, but it will come up in the first five minutes of a conversation. I am taking an acting class and in the first session I said “hey, I am Nick and I have bedbugs,” as if I was in some particularly gross AA session. When I hear someone mention bedbugs in a conversation at a table next to me, I feel obliged to chime in.
They’re also making home very disorganized and uncomfortable, no small problem for someone whose office is at home. Things are not where they used to be; instead, they’re in bags all over the place:
While I am tempted to reassemble my room and my office (which are the same place), I realize there is every chance that the bugs will be back again so I have stopped trying to create a livable space and now just settle for someplace with interior heating.
We also learn that Brown still has bed bugs, well past the 30-day window landlords are given to eliminate bed bugs, under local housing laws. It is not unusual for landlords to need more time, though. Turns out, there are other reasons to be angry at the landlord:
Our landlord, we discovered today, knew this apartment had bugs. The previous tenants moved out because of the bedbugs. The whole building – minus our apartment – was sprayed for bedbugs in the months after we moved in. No one mentioned this to us.
Isn’t this illegal? As I commented on the paragraph above, on Nicholas Brown’s blog, this should be illegal. Landlords should not be able to rent out an apartment that is known to be infested with bed bugs, to an unsuspecting tenant. I have a suspicion, however, that it already violates the housing laws. If any NYC rental housing experts are reading this, perhaps they could clarify.
Moreover, if the entire building except one apartment was being treated, any experienced PCO and even the landlord should realize that this might drive even more bed bugs into this unit.
What strikes me most about Brown’s saga, through these six installments, is how very typical it is. We at bedbugger.com have heard it all many times. While I am horrified to hear Brown’s tale, I thank him for sharing it in such a public medium.
By doing so, he may just convey the mess that bed bugs create in one’s life, as well as how easy it is to get them, and how very difficult it is to get rid of them, to those not yet in the know. And that recognition, my friends, is the first step in getting everyone else to help us fight the problem.