Thursday, September 3, 2009


My sister declared to me once that I have the most glamorous life she could imagine. Well, I think she was exaggerating, but considering we come from a three stop light town in GA where when there are more than three people lined up at a stop light we refer to it as traffic, this nomadic life with all of its famous places and fancy parties does make a country girl feel like a celebrity. For the most part, the life of an opera singer is quite glamorous. When we sing we wear fancy dresses and people fuss over our hair (wig) and fuss over our faces and we even sometimes get nice things written about us in the newspaper. We are often never in the same town for more than a month and we meet all kinds of neat and different people. Yes, it is my life and it is my job. I love it and appreciate it. However, there is always something that can make you long for simplicity and normalcy. That my friends are BED BUGS.

Yes, you heard me right. You may be thinking, “Gosh, I remember Betsy Sue and them having those years ago when we were little but I haven’t heard of Bed Bugs in a coon’s age.” Well, they are back and they are in full blossom in New York City. Ick.

Last year I was singing at the MET and rented an apartment on the Upper Westside of Manhattan that I had seen advertised on Craig’s List. All of my singer friends had been getting great deals on apartments that they booked on Craig’s List. So, after much trepidation I decided to join the Craig Listers and do the same. I found a very cute apartment in my budget, met the guy, saw the apartment, PAID THREE MONTHS RENT UP-FRONT, and moved in. The first and only night of my stay I was lying in bed watching Saturday Night Live, one of the Tina Fey as Sarah Palin nights last year, and a roach crawled across my chest in the bed. Now, I am from GA. We have roaches that can make the New York City roaches look like picnic ants. Anyone who has lived in Macon, GA and has walked the Mercer campus at night knows what I am talking about. So, I was alarmed and completely grossed out, but I remained pretty cool. I jumped up and only screamed ever so softly as I turned on the light to find the pest and as I threw back the covers I realized that little, wimpy, sad New York roach was not alone. To my horror there were tiny little bugs in the bed that to this southern girl looked like ticks. I actually said out loud, “Why would there be ticks in New York City? There are no deer here!” I picked one up and gave it a good pinch test the way we do down south and it was easy to kill unlike the hard backed wood ticks of my youth. I didn’t know what they were but I knew I didn’t want them as sleepover guests. I quickly ran to the kitchen and began rambling around for some bug spray to at least kill the pansy roach. To my dismay, I only found a tall red can of spray that cheerfully read, “Kills Bedbugs, Lice, Dust Mites, Ticks, and Fleas”. I was horrified. Out of all those fabulous options I knew it could only be Bedbugs. When I returned to the bed the little blood suckers were crawling on the wall and over the pillow cases. I didn’t sleep a wink. I sat in the chair all night and the first thing the next morning I was out the door.

It took weeks for me to stop feeling as though I had things crawling on me and I bet you feel that way right now just by reading this and for that I am truly sorry! I checked into a hotel and would change rooms every three to four days because I feared that those bugs were still with me. I managed to out run them and finally found a new apartment and sang La Charmeuse at the MET with as much grace and glamour as I could muster.

It will probably come as no surprise to you that the young man who rented the place had left the country and refused to return my money. After a month he was even accusing me of having put the bugs in the apartment and accused me of stealing from him. I picked quite a lucky apartment, huh? I hired an exterminator to go into the apartment and verify whether or not the apartment was infested with Bedbugs. The exterminator showed up in a hazmat uniform minus the face mask in order to inspect the apartment. He said it was one of the worst cases he had ever seen. Go figure. I concur.

Today I finally had my day in court. I filed a civil suit against the Bed Bug Bandit and reported downtown where they film the Law and Order TV show today to try and win my money back. (Did I mention it was three months NY rent?) He was a no show which meant that I got to present my case to the arbitrator alone. The arbitrator ruled in my favor and is demanding payment plus interest. Whew. He then mentioned that the Sheriff would be going to collect. Do they have Sheriff’s in New York City? Are they the ones on the horses in Central Park? I guffawed at thinking of the Sheriff of Lincoln Co. showing up at this young man’s door. What I wouldn’t give if that were the case!

I have learned quite a lesson during all of this. Don’t rent apartments on Craig’s List and don’t get too glamorous for your britches, you just may end up with Bedbugs in them.

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