My Friend Karen Got Bed Bugs And This Is What We Learned

by Lauren Ireland

Summer’s almost over, and you know what that means: Bed bug season is upon us!

One of my dear friends recently got bed bugs, and after one long, wine-induced conversation, we came to the following 11 conclusions about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

These are the kinds of things one only discovers after going through, or knowing someone going through, a terrible bed bug scare:

1. Home is where the heart is.

You don’t need a home to cry in public, so go get ‘em tiger. A bench in the park, the end of a subway platform, even an awning under McDonald’s is your dripping, sobbing oyster.


2. Sometimes people don’t act loyally.

When someone has bed bugs, it's like she's the walking Bubonic plague!

It’s children and mothers first, so GTFO of my apartment lobby, Karen; you’re on your own! (But I love you and you’re still invited to dinner on Friday.)

3. Sometimes you have to trust your gut.

Karen, sometimes you’re itchy because there are thousands of little bugs nibbling your ankle bone at 3 am, not because you ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and got “instant eczema.”

Sometimes, Karen, you’re itchy because your new lover Chris wanted to sleep on your couch because his landlord was “doing something to his apartment or whatever.”

A) You shouldn’t have let him, because he definitely had bed bugs.

B) He’s a sleaze who ended up saying the couch “was too small for his legs,” and that’s why they're both infested.

Why are you still just "sleeping" with him, anyway? Just because he plays guitar doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s a filthy liar, Karen. I’m sorry, but that's just how it is.

4. It’s important to spread the wealth.

You FOR SURE are going to be broke by the time you dry clean all your tennis shoes, so check off the humanitarian box on your bucket list, dude, and take out a loan, stat.

5. You don’t have to be a monk to meditate on life’s miseries.

You physically have no way of forgetting your earthly pain while your entire life surrounds you in bags on the floor.

6. Money is irrelevant.

It’s also infested with bed bugs.

7. Trends come and go.

Trends literally don’t matter because when you run your boyfriend jeans on high through the dryer, toss them into scalding hot water and run them through the dryer AGAIN, they’re more like girlfriend jeans.

Why do jeans have to be gender-based anyway? Formless sack dresses at this point are most certainly the wisest choice, as either gender looks stunning in a general potato form.

(I’m just trying to make you feel better, Karen, and you told me you wanted to get “more feminist this year because it’s trending.” Literally, why are we friends?)

8. When life gets too much, sometimes all you need to do is to breathe.

Breathe, Karen.

It doesn’t matter that the bartender last night ignored your sober hand, jabbing into the nothingness, despite him serving the girl next to you who he said “sort of looks like his high school girlfriend, Emily,” after nodding along to your sob story for 15 minutes.

Just breathe because you can always buy a shandy and paper bag it in the park like you did afterward.

And you can always drunkenly strip naked on your own doorstep and slather yourself in Neem oil so the bugs won’t bite your butt or legs as you try to pass out on the air mattress you erected this morning.

9. Sometimes strangers can be kind.

...Like your landlord, who pounded on your door at 8 am the next morning because he “forgot to tell you” not only is your bed infested, but also your couch, desk, bookshelf and makeshift “blow-up bed” constructed out of old sweatshirts and bundled up trash bags, sprayed down with rubbing alcohol.

At least you didn’t waste the morning sleeping off your hangover! We’re adults now!

10. Beauty is on the inside.

I mean, thank god because who’s going to find you beautiful in that summer tank now that those little freaks nibbled an inflamed map of the Congo on your upper back.

That is, except for maybe Heroin Dude, who stands outside your apartment and screams passages from assorted Anne Rice novels at your retreating form.

11. Laughter is the best medicine.

Because, sometimes, after all this, you accidentally leave your wallet in the bathroom of the restaurant you’re eating at, and the manager comes over saying, “Hey Karen, someone found your wallet” when he didn’t know your name 10 minutes prior.

Also, $50 is missing, as well as your unlimited subway card. So you laugh, loud and strong, in front of a room of strangers, mouths agape because you are undone, Karen. You are undone.