So now I’m a tweaker…

Novelty_in_sleeves_(Punch_magazine_cartoon_1895)I have bird mites again. This time, there are far fewer, but they’re bigger than ever before and they bite way harder. This is, I think, the fifth or sixth time I’ve ever had an infestation of bird mites in an apartment of mine. No one ever fucking believes me. One person I know did, because she had them, too. Once, in the worst of it, I was riding in a van to the airport and I accidentally made everyone in the van itch. It was awful. I said nothing. I was ashamed. They would have believed me. And they would have made me walk. I will always feel terrible about that day. I hope I didn’t make that van infested forever. Awful. I am a terrible, infested person.

There are ways to get rid of them. Because of the ways it takes to get rid of them, I do not doubt I will get cancer in ten to twenty years. Right now, they are coming from the attic. I can’t afford to move yet. The landlord doesn’t believe me, and he takes his time getting the birds out of the attic.

The catch is: I don’t want anyone to get the mites so they believe me. I’d rather they think I’m crazy, or I’m on drugs. Which is exactly what happened to me today at the Home Depot where I bought mite exterminating supplies.

So I bought a new vacuum and a carpet steam-cleaner, to fuck up these fuckers. See, there’s wall-to-wall carpet in this hellhole, and I have to get the mites out. I also bought more bug bombs and hella mothballs. You gotta bag everything you wear and your bedclothes with mothballs to kill the mites. It’s hellish. And I got some spray for the mattress. Meanwhile, I had bombs going off in my apartment. Don’t worry; I turned the pilot light off.

“You’re buying a lot of mothballs,” the checker said. Why? I don’t know. If you see someone buying a bunch of poison, don’t you just keep your mouth shut?

I’m running medical experiments, I wanted to say, with a large grin and my eyes all the way open.

“I have a heavy infestation of bird mites in my apartment,” I said instead.

He paused and stopped checking for half a second. “I have never heard of that.”

“No one has. You know why pigeons are always scratching? That’s what I have.”

“Ah.”

“Don’t ever let birds roost in your house, man.”

“Oh.” He made eye contact with the guy behind me.

I lifted up my sleeve to show him the bites I have about five or six. They’re little. Really little. I also wanted to show him I had no tracks. He didn’t look. Just kept looking at the guy. I know that look. I don’t use drugs. And I know that look well.

It was funny for about twenty minutes. I called someone to tell her.

And then it wasn’t funny anymore. It was oppressive. My own tiny hell. A little, tiresome, Sisyphean plague. It’s so much work to get rid of them. Yes, it means I’ll get a clean apartment, because you have to get rid of every bit of clutter they can hide behind.  But spraying the mattress with poison every day? Making a cocktail of alcohol, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil to spray down the walls with? Fuck. I hope there aren’t that many, and I hope the landlord gets the birds out the fucking attic soon.

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