Monday, September 13, 2010
Homebody or Rolling Stone?
ROBERTA: Confession: Ever since reading a review on Tripadvisor that announced the Los Angeles hotel where I had a reservation was infested with bed bugs, I've been obsessed with the darn things. If you read the recent feature in the New York Times Science section, you would have seen that the scientists who study them are obsessed with them too. One of them leaves his luggage in the bathroom when he's traveling--the other only on hard surfaces. Both of them strip beds and inspect the seams of the mattresses in the rooms where they're staying, looking for evidence of infestation. Here's a link to an interview on Fresh Air about how to look for them in your hotel room.
And what does this have to do with anything? It's this kind of obsession that makes a trip seem like a lousy idea the closer I get to the date. Oh I can do the same thing thinking about air travel or leaving the pets, etc. I think at the core, I'm a homebody. How about you guys, does upcoming travel make you quiver with dread or excitement?
HALLIE: I didn't think they allowed bed bugs in Los Angeles... A dear friend had bed bugs in her Brooklyn apartment awhile back. It was awful. Which, with the start of school again, reminds me of lice. Any of us with kids have been through the awfulness of lice. My head itches just thinking about it. We had to cut my daughters long luxurious hair when she got them...it was like something about of a 19th-century novel. (My husband, who my daughter once described to a friend as having a "very big forehead" (he's bald) was the only one who didn't get it.)
The bed bug paranoia comes just in time - we'd almost forgotten about obsessively washing our hands so we don't catch flu. On the horizon: the everything-resistant bacteria that's being brought back from India and Japan where folks go for elective cosmetic surgery. It always seems like these things can be interpreted as some deity's revenge for people indulging themselves.
ROBERTA: Oh no no Hallie, I haven't forgotten about the hand sanitizer, just adding this latest neurotic concern on to that older one!
JAN: Because I had a plane phobia for so long, I trained myself to never think of travel before I go. That eliminates a lot of the excitement and pleasure most people have in anticipating travel. But it also eliminates the anxiety.
That bed bug thing is pretty compelling Roberta, I understand your obsession and I AM NOT going to follow that link because I'm going to say in a NYC hotel next weekend and I don't want to be likewise obsessed. Which I will be if I read it.
HANK: Oh, the bedbug story. I SAW that! Think about what it's like to be a reporter and have to say: Fires, crimes, violence, car accidents, drama, fine, all in a day's work...but I am NOT going anywhere that there might be bedbugs. I get itchy even thinking about it. And didn't the article say that the bedbugs--which were once thought to be eradicated--came back because DDT was banned?
We were in a hotel in New Jersey this weekend--Thanks so much, Liberty States Fiction Writers!--and I'm not scratching. So, hurray. But trust me, we looked. And then we washed our hands. But yeah, remember when there was Purell EVERYWHERE? And now there isn't. Just don't eat any eggs. Or is that over, too?Is spinach okay yet?
ROSEMARY: I'm flying, staying in a hotel AND going to India next month. Should I just shoot myself now? I do think the media has to come up with something to scare us every once in a while and this is a particularly creepy one. I live (most of the time) in Connecticut, where every little itch is a tick bite and every time you're tired it's Lyme disease. Makes you want to pour a few fingers of scotch and light a Camel.
RHYS: Did we have to post on this subject when I'm in the middle of a book tour? I have to confess that I saw a segment on bed bugs on TV and they suggested we leave luggage on the stand, away from the walls. Well, I'm doing that. I'm staying in very fancy-schmanzy hotels but I gather they are not imune so I may just strip my bed and examine the mattress tonight. Oh dear!
ROBERTA: Oh you Jungle Reds are so sensible! I agree with you Jan, don't look at the link. But do like Rhys and put your luggage on something hard! And Ro, India sounds fantastic. Can't wait to hear about that adventure. How about you guys? does the latest news make you want to stay home or throw caution to the wind and launch yourself into the world?