Sunday, January 25, 2009

Animals in my room, in order of most to least welcome.

Cats. They can come and hang out in my room if they want. It adds a homey touch to have a cat curled up on the bed, and I enjoy having them within stroking distance. But I do not want them in there if they are going to drool, piss, shit, knock stuff off flat surfaces in the middle of the night or play with creatures they have killed. Or, indeed, to lie on my computer when I have a deadline to meet, then scratch me ill-temperedly when I remove them from my desk:

Dave is moving out of my house in about a week to go nest with his girlfriend. He is taking Monty with him and I am going to miss her a lot.

Mosquitoes. Last night I had to sleep covered in Aerogard because there was not one but an irritating chorus of them, all making their high buzz at infinitesimally different pitches. This was so much worse than a single mosquito. It is awful to hear them coming closer and closer. You flinch even though you are wearing insect repellant.

Moths. There is a big chunky moth in my room at the moment that insists on fluttering clumsily everywhere. It is so big that when it hits the wall it makes a sound like a wad of chewed paper. I have a Chinese paper lampshade over my light globe and when the moth gets in there it sounds like a raisin rattling around. I have a moth trap in my room to catch smaller pantry moths, and it has become surprisingly full. But the large moth does not seem interested in the supposedly irresistible pheremone-soaked lure in the trap.

Birds. Thank god a live one has never got in; can you imagine the havoc it would cause to have it fluttering around, plus its cruel stabby beak? Birds are bad enough when killed and dismembered by cats. I still remember hearing Meep rustling around under my desk, and when I went to investigate there were feathers everywhere and a still-warm bird.

Mice. Sometimes when I am waiting to fall asleep I can hear a faint rustling in my room and I am terrified it is mice. Mice skittering over my pillow in the night. Mice nibbling through the electrical cords and causing my entire house to go up in flames. However I think a lot of the rustling is actually moths in the paper lampshade.

Bedbugs. I just don't have words to describe the terror and stress that an infestation of bedbugs in my room would cause me. The worst part about them is that people often think they are a sign of dirtiness in a person or their surroundings, but this simply isn't true. A terrible encounter with these creatures in a Canberra hotel has pretty much traumatised me for life; every time I have an unexplained red mark on my skin like a mosquito bite, I panic that it's a bedbug bite. Sometimes I check the seams of my mattress for any signs of bedbugs.

The worst part of having a bedbug infestation in my room would be obsessively sterilising its entire contents. I would have to throw away my mattress, wash all my clothes and linen in boiling hot water and put anything that couldn't be washed in black garbage bags in the sun, in order to kill the bugs. Then I would probably have to set off an insecticide bomb in my room.

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