Bugs You Can Swat and Bugs You Can’t

Because I am an inclusion aid, I am forever looking for a space to take my kids that isn’t already occupied. With, you know. Teaching. We end up in the cafeteria and sometimes on the floor. But what I’m getting at is that there are days when I wander the school. A lot.

Yesterday as the seniors and I were returning from the cafeteria, I spotted one of the janitors wiping down a pole. Now, I like the janitors well enough, but they are men and their priorities are not the same as mine or those of the other women teachers. We tend to appreciate things like, I don’t know. Paper towels in the restroom? Or knowing that the squashed cockroach was swept up at the end of the day?

Anyway, what I said to the janitor was, “You must be really bored.”

He looked at me, sort of puzzled.

I continued. “I don’t wipe down my walls unless I’m really bored!”

“Oh,”he said, ‘I’m sanitizing. Anywhere a kid could touch.”

Odd, I thought. Especially considering the cockroach thing. Still, flu season approaches, and as someone who takes immunosuppressant drugs (for the RA), I appreciate any and all attacks on germs. Besides, we don’t get our flu shots until November 14.

A little later, I found a note in my box. The sanitation is because of the threat of MRSA, a drug-resistant staph infection. I had heard about it, but I didn’t realize the threat was widespread. Evidently, a rash of MRSA cases has shown up among student athletes, so our superintendent felt the precautions were warranted. You might think that, since it’s athletes who get it, the main precautions should be taken in the locker room, but if you told me that, I’d ask you to watch kids, even at the high school level. I have seen them spit on the floor or ask to borrow my pencil right after they put their gum back in their mouths. Or, well, I don’t have to get graphic. You get the idea. Athletes do wander from the locker rooms. I’m glad our school is being careful, but I’m sorry it’s necessary.

Which leads me to my being careful. About gnats in particular. I don’t remember having a bad case of them until this year. I am careful about my dishes and emptying my garbage, but the pesky little things still persist. I had thought they came in on the fruit from the grocery store. Then I thought they took up residence in my bamboo plant. Finally, I had enough. I just couldn’t swat them all.

So…I did what any red-blooded American would do. I Googled gnats, and I found a site which said that half a cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with a tablespoon of Dawn would get rid of the little pests. So I tried it. And although I didn’t see them flying around the mixture, I have been amazed at the amount of them that have ended up in the vinegar and glad that I could get rid of them in a non-toxic sort of way.

Of the two kinds of bugs, the staph and the gnats, I much prefer the gnats. I would much rather fight an enemy that I know is there.

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