I don’t camp. My definition of “camping” is pitching a tent in my backyard, filling an air mattress whose dimensions are greater than the tent itself and am within walking distance to a life-size cooler — my fridge. My mom tried “camping” with me once with my stepdad and me. She had to go pee 45 minutes later.
She never came back.
My reasons against camping are much more legitimate. I’m cool with roughing it: not showering for a couple days (less foreign than I’d like to admit), cooking beans from a can over an open flame (that’s a thing, right?). Hikings cool, too, I guess. As long as I don’t have to skin anything alive or eat what I kill.
It comes down to bugs. It’s SO minuscule I know but I HATE bugs — bugs that fly, swim, crawl – 6 legs, 8 legs. Shit, I don’t care if the damn thing smells like a basket of roses and is a Grade A cuddler. If one of its little legs even brushes my arm hair, that son of a bitch won’t know what flicked it.
THE FIELD GOAL FOR THE WIN, AND IT’S GOOD!
New York, as I’ve quickly learned, has its own bug and rodent issues. They don’t give a hootie and the blowfish if you’re paying $900 or $900K a month. They dig the city life, too, and they’re livin’ rent free.
Returning from a late dinner with a friend on Sunday, I finally got a chance to unwind and prepare for a new week. Like a glass of warm milk to a toddler, after a couple beers, I was ready to drift into a heavy slumber on the futon at my interim domicile.
I announce my arrival to no answer, only assuming my family friend whose place it is already went to sleep. Pants at my ankles, the door opens and I hear, “Oh, Sarah! I’m so glad you’re home.” ….resume pants. She walks out in a towel saying, “I’ve got the worst itch on the one spot on my back I can’t reach.” She waited up for me to scratch her back? She couldn’t bear scratch against a wall?
“My friend took a picture, and I think it might be a tick.”
“I’ve been Googling symptoms and various types of ticks. Could you just look at it and see if it looks like a tick or if it’s just a bug bite? See look, I enlarged the picture my friend took and you can see the legs and the head sort of but I think it’s a little under the skin. I was like 10 minutes away from going to the ER.”
“Oh…..You know, I’m really not a bug person. Um, I don’t really –”
“I just need to know if it’s a tick, it’s so damn itchy.”
You mean Satan’s 6-legged suckling offspring? “Nope….not a bug bite. Definitely a tick.”
Hey, awkward silence! Where’ve you been these past few weeks, you sly devil, you.
Now, on a list of things I’d never do unless under horse tranquilizers, picking a tick off someone else’s body monkey-style is top 5, easy. But the woman is letting me live in her apartment for three weeks, I’m not going to make her go to the ER when I’m, um, conscious.
“Do you want me to try and, like….pick, er, get it off? Big shock but I’ve never done something like this before so hopefully your pain tolerance is high.”
I’m full of conviction, confidence and positive reinforcement, what can I say?
“OH, that’d be great. Here, I have some tweezers; a couple in case one pair aren’t sharp enough. So I read on Google that all you have to do is pull it straight out. And make sure you get all the legs. There can’t be any left because we don’t know if it’s carrying Lymes disease.”
15 minutes later and a few years visibly shaved off my face I did, in fact, de-tick her. Suddenly brimming with confidence I told her she should probably go to the doctor anyway because it seems there might be some puss and swelling, “plus I’m not sure I got the entire head and I don’t want to be the blame for any infectious diseases.”
“Damn tweezers. I need to get a sharper pair. Do you wanna try the kitchen knife to dig it out?”
Do you wanna watch my head connect with the kitchen tile?