Friday, July 31, 2009

Here There Be Bugs

Probably just as well it's Friday.

Our section admin has been dismayed, lately, by an influx of very small, beige flying insects whose chief purpose in life is - as far as I can tell - simply to huddle against the walls, immobile, trying to look inconspicuous. Or so she tells us. No one else has been able to see these "insects."

Ha ha! Just kidding. No, we really do have some tiny tan bugs in our area; so Norma (our section admin) called ABC Pest Control to come out and spray a few weeks ago. They did. The bugs got bigger.

Now, if I were Norma, I think, perhaps I'd call a different company this time. But she did not - probably they have a low-bid contract and she can't. So they're coming back out this evening to try again. "Make sure and mark the places where you've seen the bugs," they told Norma. Do they doubt her?!

I can vouch for the existence of these bugs, but I can't help wondering what exactly the problem is. Here in my house I get those big, flying cockroaches, easily two to three inches long; and occasionally, just for laughs, they alight on your face in the middle of the night while you're sleeping. You wake up instantly at the sensation and fling the crawling thing away from you violently, heart racing spasmodically. In fact, the cardiac effect is so traumatic, I had to double-check my life insurance policy to be sure I had not somehow inadvertently named the cockroaches as beneficiaries.

I had not.

So I'm not sure what the big deal is about miniscule, mild-mannered, apparently non-homicidal beige wall-huggers, but Norma's on a rampage and the bugs have got to go. "Do you know," I said to her before snapping the above picture with my cell phone, "this kind of looks, um. How should I put this? A little demented."

She laughed. She put up some more signs.

"We used to get these incredibly tiny little fruit flies around our plants in TPP," I told her. "You'd see someone in their cubicle, just flailing randomly at the air," and I demonstrated. Later it occurred to me that one good way to tell a transportational state employee from a (ahem) normal one is simply whether anyone else can see the bugs. But in TPP, I don't think anybody could. I didn't tell Norma how I sometimes spent whole days just sitting at my desk, waiting, with bits of Scotch tape stuck to the ends of my fingers, catching fruit flies. I wasn't sure she'd understand.

Perhaps the bugs will be gone Monday, but I'd be surprised. Why should they be? And why shouldn't they be allowed to flourish in the lovely beige 1980s-era office setting we have so thoughtfully provided for them? If I were smart, I'd bring in my cockroaches, too.

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