October 30, 2010

Defeated by Mini-Vampires

Vampires are in, right? Featured in best-sellers and blockbusters.
But what I consider vampires real-time cousins are also rising to fame.
Initially I thought they were just making the rounds of NYC hotels but I’ve learned that there have been celebrity sightings in a United Nations conference room, Lincoln Center, Chicago schools, a 30 Rock TV show episode, Abercrombie and Fitch,
Bloomingdale's, Bill Clinton’s office, and at least one Victoria’s Secret store. Of course, what I am referring to is...BEDBUGS.

From a recent news report:
New York City's bedbugs have climbed out of bed and marched into landmarks causing fresh anxiety among tourists who are canceling vacations planned for the height of the holiday season.
I am embarrassed to say that I am one of the defeated crowd. Following discussions and ruminations, I just canceled my upcoming trip to NYC. Although I really wanted to meet my brother and sister-in-law (who live in FL) in the city and also because I don't like my anxiety to lead my decisions, I just can’t do it.

After all I have first-hand experience. During the summer when I was 9 years old, I started getting welts all over my body. It took awhile for a correct diagnosis to be made – first the doctors thought I was allergic to sand fleas. They told my mom that I was probably getting bitten at day camp. There was no discussion about my not going to day camp until the bites subsided. I was packed off on the bus daily...and told to spray myself all over with bug repellant – It was me who got repelled. To this day I can’t stand the odor of that spray.

And I didn’t realize that I still hold on to the childhood trauma until a few weeks ago when a close friend casually mentioned the NYC bedbug infestation. When I told her that I had scheduled a trip there she mentioned the online “bedbug registry.” People are reporting hotels where bedbugs have been sighted.

So, when I was a kid, after months of itchy welts, the doctor finally figured out that those were bedbug bites. The stuff of nightmares – those nocturnal parasites, small insects that feed on human blood (yes, vampirish!). Hard to detect, they lurk and linger (they can live for several weeks or months without food or water) and are hard to get rid of....and once you have them you will need an exterminator to get rid of them.

The hotel I was going to stay at was not (yet?) on the bedbug list....but after googling the subject and reading the reports...that these crafty stalking insects are everywhere.
Please don’t come to my door tomorrow night dressed as a BedBug. No telling what treatment you might get.

Would you stay in a NYC hotel – or not? What infestations or epidemics would curb your travel plans?

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