There's a species of little kid that simply cannot abide uncomfortable clothes. My daughter was so allergic to seams over her toes that socks were virtually an impossibility in kindergarten. My kindergarten son, on the other hand, adored the constriction of neckties and sports jackets.
I'm afraid I have never outgrown my youthful aversion to clothing that rubs me the wrong way. So when I get home from work, I rip off my work clothes and put on my nightie. And once in my nightie, I climb into bed. I love my bed. It is to me what a charging plate is to a cordless phone. I run out of juice if I don't unite with it.
My bed is my sanctuary. So it was extraordinarily stressful to wake up last weekend with a line of insect bites down my right ribs. You see, I've been on a few planes in the past few weeks, and I live in a city where it's estimated that 1 out of 10 households has bedbugs, and I work on a floor that recently had several areas of infestation. So it didn't take a big mental leap to arrive in bedbug bedlam.
The next day I woke up with a line of bites down my left ribs. Other and I lifted the mattress, pulled up the sheet, examined the seam of every stuffed thing in the house for "fecal smears" and molted skins, and vacuumed—twice—even though the house wasn't dirty.
The next day I had a bite on my leg, but I saw—and killed—the mosquito that did it.
Throughout, I slept no more than an hour or two a night, spending my considerable waking hours planning how I could exterminate the bugs while sparing the humans in my house. I printed instructions for a home-made bedbug monitor invented by a Rutgers student that uses dry ice and double-bowl cat dishes. I Googled the names of sniffer-dog operators.
And then ... there were no more bites. Of course, it's possible that my six bedbugs are sleeping off their vast meal and will shortly come back for more. Or it's possible one now-dead mosquito ruined my life for three days.