And now, a tale of public housing. (I bear no responsibility if you hear this entire thing in the voice of Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale.)
It says something about the state of government housing that I have developed a sort of Spidey Sense for the common Cimex lectularius Linnaeus.
(SLOW YOUR ROLL. DO NOT GOOGLE.)
Building management, after two years of doing jack shit, has actually been ousted wholesale and replaced, and I have just treated the current linen so thoroughly with chems it would be working backwards for a week to swap. MINOR nosebleed from all the chemical in the air (or the fact that it took a bite to wake me this time and I am allergic) but I’m tired of bugs.
Folks who have been in cheap motels, unfortunate Air BNB experiences, seen every other news report about pesticide resistance, noticed things moving on buses or movie theatre seats, or have followed me through this fight know what I’m talking about when I talk about this bitey bastard. Folks who are confounded by that Latin up there, DO NOT GOOGLE THAT WITH IMAGES ON. DO NOT. DO. NOT.
The sick irony of the struggle is that though the entire building had been reporting this since jump, WE’RE the ones that have to be trained how to spot them or face eviction. Um. Hi. Ten years hospitality, know the chems, just need the license to operate the giant heater thing that kills them. I THINK I’M GOOD.
To add insult to injury, the spot where I’ve been talking about the mold on the ceiling that totally blew, leaking and flooding my clothes and a TV, is turning an unsavory color. It continues to smell of old meat and paint and now has a jagged, small maw-like opening. It also looks vaguely like where Morpha spawns in Ocarina of Time and I don’t think I like that. At least if it leaks again, it will go straight for the improvised bucket and not for the replacement television, which is just the one from when I first moved in. Thanks to growing up in one of those houses that had a garbage bag full of garbage bags, the garbage situation is no situation at all.
But, this one room, buggy, drippy, flood, faulty fridgey experience that so disproportionately affects PoC of low income (because really, why would you WANT this) costs thirty percent of what little bit one makes a month before food, meds, bills. If you’re lucky (?) you’re in bad enough shape that you might get help with one or two of those, but chances are if the meds are the thing you’re getting help with, you’re not going to be getting a lot of hours. And assets? Forget it. Too much of those and you’re outta there, without your income having gone up… So where can you go?
So you report bug after bug, construction failures after failures, until management is turned over, futilely treating your little one room for the biters as you go, making a mental note to save enough money for food and that one med that your healthcare coverage doesn’t cover, the one you were stuck without for two months because it’s been that slow.
And now… A nap. I don’t know if it’s the fumes or all the lifting I had to do to manually remove those red flats—same bug as cimex lectularis—but I am exhausted a mere hour from waking up and spraying the place, and the hernia area is in violent spasm. I can do laundry and yell at management in an hour.