The War at Home

by Bryan

This column was started yesterday, but as “luck” would have it, the scene repeated itself last night. That’s right, I suffer for you to keep my columns fresh. We’ll get back to more topical/at all interesting topics tomorrow. That’s the plan at least.

I’m tired today. There’s no two ways about it: sleep is chasing me like I’m leading the Belmont Stakes. That’s the longest horse race in the world, and now the day seems so… long…

The culprit is a mosquito. He has invaded my personal space and bites me while I sleep. Could be a she, but there’s not a history of ladies sneaking into my apartment. (ed. note: see comments) Either way, as Walter Sobchak would say, worthy fucking adversary. I can’t even tell how he gets into the apartment. But when he does, he wreaks havoc.

Let’s set the scene: I live on the fifth floor of a five-story apartment building, and life is mostly good at the top. I’m free from most ambient ground-level noises, and there’s no pitter-patter of feet above my head. The roof is almost always completely vacant, except when someone’s installing a satellite dish or repainting it that searing, brilliant silver that burns your skin and eyes in the summer.

Up there, water collects in little pools. Up there, mosquitos breed, and then gameplan a way into my apartment. They come one at a time: there’s a Papacy of little buggers bleeding me dry. There’s one, I kill it, and then there’s one more. Always one, no more no less. But one can do a ton of damage.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this problem. When I lived in Queens, I lived in the first floor of a house, with a room facing an unkempt backyard. Weeds were everywhere, and the perennial plants were overgrown. It was a mosquito’s Shangri-La. I wasn’t surprised when they’d get in, and I devised a method to kill the bastards. I’d turn on my reading lamp, and look to the side of it. Bathing the whole room in light was too much, but the ambient light was just enough to catch a glimpse of the bloodsuckers. The goal was to end the ordeal with one well-timed clap.

Apparently evolution works quickly, because that method doesn’t work anymore. That or Brooklyn mosquitos are just a tougher nut to crack. Or smear all over your wall, as it were.

These guys are spastic. They don’t buzz me until the lights are off. And they drink like an alcoholic at an open bar. More details are probably not necessary, but during the summer in my sleeping-without-a-shirt phase, I was sure a spider had taken up residence at Casa Joiner, and not one of the silly, functional kinds. I’m talking the kind you name sports teams after (I’m looking at you, University of Richmond). These bites were big.

But no.

The problem is, and always has been, mosquitos. That’s why, in the words of Montgomery Burns, I want to destroy the sun. Lacking any real mechanism to do so, I can only root hard for the onset of fall. Our summer was a largely contented one except for this.

I know what you’re thinking: Why don’t you just close your windows and doors? Well, they are closed. I’m at a loss to figure out why I’m still getting buzzed, the only real remedy to which is… getting buzzed. (A couple beers, and you’ll sleep right through the pain.) But that’s no way to go through life. The mosquitoes’ drinking breeds my own. That’s a downward spiral no one wants.

The only downward spiral I want is the sight of a wadded-up tissue with the last of the insect kings, meeting his watery grave. Down the stretch we come. Bring on winter.