a catch-22 of my own design


Every morning I pull the four corners of my mosquito net up over the four posts of my bed, so that during the day I don’t have to avoid a massive fenced-off area in the middle of my room. Every night I bring the mosquito net back down and tuck it in securely to the bedframe.

Last night I found myself in a bit of a pickle. There had been a mosquito floating around somewhere in the room – it had already bitten me twice – but it was nowhere to be seen at bedtime. What if it was hiding out somewhere on my bed, and when I put the net down I trapped it in with me? That would be a bit like those horror movies in which the killer calls the victim on the phone but it turns out the killer is actually in the house about to chop them to bits.

The funny thing about this situation is that I don’t even think malaria is a problem in Dakar. This whole net up, net down, net up, net down ritual is just practice for more rural areas. I think part of me enjoys feeling the thrill of danger when the back of my mind knows there is actually very little danger.

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