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Altman claims the numbers don't live up to the hype. Gee. I wonder how many people have to get them before she starts checking her own sheets at night. By the end of my two-year battle with bedbugs, I was in self-imposed exile, sleeping in a sealed bug tent on an inflatable mattress surrounded by double-sided sticky tape. I did not go out at night or on the weekends. I felt guilty going to work for fear of giving them to my co-workers. I spent the holidays alone, because I was paralyzed by the possibility of carrying the parasites to my brother's home, where he and my two toddler nieces lived. My "paranoia" was not without warrant: Although my on-again, off-again boyfriend and I spent the night together all of once, eight months into the relationship he got bedbugs too, and by default so did his two roommates. It felt great, you know, giving them bedbugs.
Perhaps Altman's real problem is the inability to wrap her mind around something as insidious and stubborn and hellish as bedbugs. The epidemic is no War of the Worlds fantasy. It's real.
Jersey City, New Jersey
I just finished reading your article and have to say that I enjoyed the lighthearted sarcasm. All too often in the media, the message is fear, fear, fear. It is nice to see a twist like this on the issue of bedbugs.
There are certainly those who are delusional and those who are overreacting, but the fact of the matter is, bedbugs are back, and they are here to stay.
My dear Mara Altman, you must be familiar with the phrase "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." In the midst of a bedbug "epidemic," the last thing frazzled and sleepless New Yorkers need is more ways to freak out. Now, you've done a wonderful job illustrating the many ways a victim of bedbugs can view the situation. What you don't offer is a solution, or even a calming insight, to this rampant paranoia.
I heard tell of these bedbugs but did not actually take the problem seriously until I was faced with the little critters. Of course I was freaked-out and itching everywhere. I threw out my mattress. I washed everything in the house. I went to Home Depot and bought a jug of Real Kill ($6). My landlady was kind enough to take care of my animals while I attended to my new guests. Patrons at my neighborhood laundromat, as well as the owners, helped me do numerous loads of laundry. New Yorkers really have a way of coming to the rescue!
The bugs came back two weeks later because, while I had killed the live ones, I hadn't broken the life cycle. But I pulled out my jug of Real Kill and followed my routine (I spray every six weeks), and I haven't seen a bug in six months.
What your article needed to do was assuage fears. Instead, you perpetuated the paranoia.
I know many people who did indeed vote for Hevesi in this election, and without exception, they did so with the expectation that if Hevesi were re-elected, Spitzer would get to pick his replacementwhich, they reckoned, was better than voting for an unknown, relatively inexperienced Republican.
Finally, does anybody have any doubt that if Hevesi were a Republican or an appointee of Rudy's, Barrett would be leading the "Off with his head" chorus?