Alan Good in McSweeney’s on bed bug “consciousness” and life after bed bugs

by nobugsonme on October 23, 2009

in bed bugs

You might think that once a bed bug infestation is gone from your home (or you’re gone from the bed bug-infested home), that life would be normal again. In many cases, that’s not exactly true.

The second installment of a series of articles on bed bugs by Alan Good in McSweeney’s focuses on the author’s move to New York City, and the lasting effects of having experienced a bed bug problem.

Bed bug sufferers are often forever changed by their newfound awareness of bed bugs, the havoc they can wreak, and how easily a person might one day pick them up again:

As a seasoned gangster knows never to make himself vulnerable, never to sit with his back to the front door of a restaurant, but to position himself unobtrusively in a seat from which he can survey the entire scene, the sufferer of bedbugs, once rid of the infernal pests, is always quietly aware of the risks of re-infestation. The sufferer is burdened with a level of consciousness of which the mass of his neighbors remain blissfully oblivious, namely, that a bloodsucker is born every minute (an ultra-conservative estimate) and extreme care must be taken to keep them out of the house. The sufferer undertakes his precautions unnoticed. He is careful of where he places his bag, refrains from leaning on walls or subway pillars, is wary of attractive items left on the street and will only take them home if, first, they are extraordinarily marvelous or useful and, second, they can readily be ascertained to be bedbug-free.

For many of us, some of these concerns may lessen in time. But many people change at least some old habits forever.

I know you’ll want to read the rest of Good’s essay here.

I commented on the first post in this McSweeney’s series here.


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