I’ve been afraid of these gross little things for at least 5 years. Nasty, creepy, blood sucking creatures – BEDBUGS!
I first heard about them when I was 17 years old and going to backpack around Europe. Someone mentioned I should think about buying a sheet liner thing for all the hostels I was going to stay at. There weren’t too many hostels that trip as I did a lot of couch surfing at relatives’ houses.
I hadn’t thought of bedbugs again until I was about 25 years old and visiting Micah in Brooklyn. We were watching some local news show and they featured a story on bedbugs. From what I remember of the story, a nice small family lived in a very cute apartment on the upper east side that they owned but were considering selling and moving because they had been battling with bedbugs for over 18 months. They threw away their mattresses, couches, fabric chairs, stuffed animals and have literally washed all their clothes in water so hot that it shrunk half of what they owned. They had no idea where they got the bedbugs but had tried everything to get rid of it.
The story went on to talk about how bedbugs can be transferred on the subway or bus or from picking up free treasure on New York sidewalks. Apparently people were throwing out beautiful furniture and not labeling that it was infested with bedbugs. I wasn’t picking up furniture on the side of the street, so that didn’t concern me but I was riding the subway when I was in town which was twice a month, and I was taking the Chinatown bus to DC twice a month. I remember being paranoid of the subway that particular trip. I think insisted we do stuff in Williamsburg just to avoid the subway. Lucky for me, I forgot about my bed bug fear as soon as I got back to DC.
So that was 5 years ago. I started thinking about bed bugs last year after some friends were attacked by them in a Parisian hotel room. Thankfully and hot shower and a quick trip to a laundromat killed the bugs off. After hearing about bedbugs last year, I think about them EVERYTIME I stay in a hotel or get on a plane. Just thinking about the planes and the seats they don’t really clean gross me out. Clearly they don’t gross me out enough to stop traveling but they do give me a 5 minute panic attack every trip.
Last week, the New York Times published an article about bedbugs and their appearances at thrift stores, vintage shops and flea markets. I don’t usually purchase clothing at thrift or vintage stores, so I didn’t think too much about that. I’m too short to find anything that fits. I was concerned about vintage furniture and even craigslist buys. We’ve bought A LOT of furniture off Craigslist over the years. I’m so happy none of them were infested. Just thought gives me nightmares. Or that ottoman we found on the street corner when we first moved to Seattle. That could have been bad.
We’ll be thinking twice about purchasing used goods with fabrics. I don’t think bedbugs will deter us from ever purchasing again, but I think we’ll be taking a better look at what we’re thinking about purchasing.
So, is anyone rethinking vintage or used purchases? Anyone ever gotten bedbugs that way?
p.s. I thought about putting a picture in this post but the images of bed bugs give me the creeps.