The business end of a Dyson

Which plague is this?

There is a plague in my house. Not COVID.

An eclipse of moths swarms our bedroom daily. Mud-colored thumb-sized bodies stud our bedroom walls and rage against lampshades. They play dead in drawers and snuggle into the folds of fresh laundry.

We can’t find larvae, cocoons, eggs, nest, provenance. The adults simply materialize, daily reborn in the dusk. 

We catalogue and kill 20 or 30 of them on any given night. We methodically aim the business end of the Dyson into corners and crannies.

 Thwip. One moth hurtles into the hose.

Thwip. The canister is a riot of moth parts. 

Thwip.

Improbably, the moths are learning. They flee from the sound of the vacuum, as though moved by the blood memory of their dismembered family. 

Thwip.

Years ago, we woke up to another species of intruder in our bedroom: a bat, careening in demented circles through our airspace. I was 6 months pregnant and played that card, hard. I crouched by the side of the bed, pillow over my head, willing my husband to take care of it

When he did capture it, with the classic laundry hamper against the fireplace screen trick, the future of his fatherhood felt bright. 

With the bat contained, there was just the question of rabies. We couldn’t find marks but animal control warned that we couldn’t rule out having been bitten in our sleep.

We drove the hamper to the lab an hour away. It was a Sunday morning and the results wouldn’t be in until past the window of time to get the vaccine. 

None of my pregnancy books had covered that particular risk. 

The moths bring no such shadows, require no weighing of pros and cons. Once in a while one will pause its percussive riff on the window shades to dive bomb my pillow. But it’s a flustered accident, a flutter of wings hastily rebounding. They seek not blood but the UV light leeching from my phone. 

The parent in me is smug about the natural consequences of bringing my phone to bed with me. 

The late night reader in me is frustrated. I hide under the covers. I check to see if mosquito nets are eligible for Prime Now. The light of the Amazon app brings a renewed flurry of wings. I re-engage the vacuum at the darkest hours.

Thwip. Thwip. 

One night, I sleep on the couch, and they cluster above me, wings relentless against the ceiling.

The adult moths appear in the spring, the internet tells me. In the summer they migrate to higher altitudes. It is June, unseasonably cold, and I am at 6,000 feet. Is our moth season just beginning or drawing to a close?

Thwip. 

I wonder if their abundance is payback for the beheading of that innocent bat.

I wonder what karmic consequences will spring from moth genocide. 

I wonder what card I can play to dodge the chore of cleaning the tangle of moth parts out of the vacuum. 

I wonder if this, too, will begin to feel normal. 


Big news! (work talk)

We did a big rebrand that launched today. Here’s why. It’s a big ol’ shiny fresh start and it feels so good to streamline and step forward.

I worked crazy hours this weekend to make it happen (and there are still so many Ts to cross) and it was invigorating to be up against that kind of deadline. Also I need to reschedule father’s day. Whoops.

Annnndd the latest episode of the podcast is out. This one took a not insignificant emotional toll to record, edit, and then put out into the world. I’m still in disbelief it’s out there. Whew.

Emotional fatigue + late nights + parenting a kid with recurrent bad dreams = someone (me) is taking some Benadryl at 8pm tonight.


Media I’m glad I consumed

“Given that my normal outlook is that humanity is a lonely orphan on a tiny rock in the middle of a desolate universe, the humbling fact that we’re probably not as smart as we think we are, and the possibility that a lot of what we’re sure about might be wrong, sounds wonderful. It opens the door just a crack that maybe, just maybe, there might be more to the story than we realize.” - Tim Urban, The Fermi Paradox

A+ on the vocab quiz

  • Noodgy (adj): Fussy, nagging, fretful.