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I decide not to finish the laundry. I want the exterminator to come back, and it’s pointless to fill my closet and drawers if I’m just going to empty them again. I leave another message for the exterminator. I find more cracks in the walls and caulk them. On my way home from Central Parking, I play a game on my cell phone, Spider Hunter. I get a new high score. I take this as a good omen.
While waiting on the high platform for the 7 train to work, my cell phone rings. “Hi, this is Brian from pest control. Sorry we didn’t get back to you sooner. We were all away at a training this weekend.” At least they called. “We’re actually not the company that was hired to do the bed bug extermination.” I had gotten the number off a notice about cockroaches in the building elevator. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “This is embarrassing.” He tells me that he knows some other people in building management if I needed more numbers to get in touch with people. He seemed interested, so I told him I’d been exterminated and I was still seeing bugs. “I’ve read,” I continued, “that it can take more than one extermination to get rid of them.” “Yes, that’s true,” Brian confirmed.
Stepping into the morning sun and putting on my headphones, I ran into Gloria, the neighbor I had met in the laundry room. She isn’t seeing any more bugs and was concerned for me that I was. “You have to call, you have to call,” she implored.
I call Elliot the building manager. “You can’t work through me on this,” he tells me. But I don’t have the number of the exterminator! “I’ll give it to you,” he says. I call the number he gave me. The exterminator’s operator tells me they’ll call back with an appointment. Yeah right, I think. This whole thing takes so much diligence, which is something I’m not good at. To my surprise, they call me back at my work number in the afternoon to tell me they’re sending someone tomorrow. Hooray! So now I’m home, bagging my belongings yet again, excited for tomorrow’s extermination.
Thursday morning, I leave for a week-long vacation in the hurricane-swept Carolinas. I’m so happy for many things: that the exterminator is coming back while I’m still in town; that I’ll have a week of wonderful sleep in a clean bed; the sun & seawater will heal my irritated skin; and I’ll spend time with my family—especially my brother, who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.
My office smoking buddy said to me today, “It’s probably a great thing that you’re going on vacation right after this extermination.” No kidding. “The bed bugs will be dying and looking for nourishment—and you won’t be there for them to get it!” That makes some sense. I hope she’s right.
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