I've never given any thought to either bedbugs or lice, until my cousin Annmarie got involved. It started out when we went to a writing conference together. I booked a room at the conference hotel and thought everything was fine until Annmarie calls me to say that she had done some checking and found some complaints on the internet about bedbugs at this particular hotel. I tried to talk her down by saying that every hotel on the planet probably has internet complaints about it. That's what the internet's for.
I tried to sound sensible about the bugs, but when I got into my room, I immediately did those spot-checks you're supposed to do where you look between the mattress and box spring for bedbugs. I also kept my suitcase off the floor on one of those luggage racks. And before I went home, I put all my dirty clothes in a plastic bag and immediately dumped them into the washing machine when I got back.Then yesterday I went to the movies, and another of my cousin's obsessions took hold of me. She'd said that she knew someone who thinks they got lice at the movie theater from leaning back against the seat. What?!? How is that possible? And what can you do about it besides either shaving your head or locking yourself up in your house and never going out?
How did I handle this situation? By going to the first show of the day in that theater. My thinking was that the last person had sat in that seat at least 12 hours earlier, which is long enough for lice to die. Then I made the mistake of mentioning this to my friend who was at the movies with me. And she told me that lice can live longer than 12 hours on surfaces. She'd know, too, because she's a teacher. I spent the entire movie feeling itchy.
Now I don't know which is more frightening: Parasitic bugs clinging to me or my cousin's name on the caller I.D.