Saturday, October 23, 2010


By now we’ve all heard about the bedbugs and we’ve heard different theories regarding their resurgence. Most experts agree that banning of DDT in pesticides and increased international travel are primarily responsible for the bedbug revival. While I agree that these two factors have contributed to the problem, I have another theory and it involves hotel bedding and the French. And it’s just one more example of unintended consequences.

I’ve traveled for years. I remember when all hotel rooms smelled like smoke and unless you brought your own alarm clock you had to ask for a wake-up call. (And I remember not getting wake up calls as requested.) I remember no free breakfast, no USA Today and really ugly carpet in those old Holiday Inns. For the most part, hotel stays are much nicer now than they were “back in the day”.

But a few years ago I began noticing a new and disturbing trend. It started in the really nice hotels. Now it’s in virtually any hotel than doesn’t rent rooms by the hour. At first it just aggravated me, but now that this bedbug thing has come back around, I think it’s time to sound the alarm. Duvets are providing aid and comfort to the bedbug community. (According to my wife, Duvet is the proper name. It comes from the French word for “down”. I, on the other hand, am inclined to call it what it is: a big, fat, worthless quilt.)

A duvet serves even less purpose on a bed these days than decorative pillows. I mean really, who needs a down-filled quilt that’s 3 inches thick? We are sleeping in a climate controlled room! These duvets are like a thermal sleeping bag. Give me a break. So here’s my drill and I think a lot of you are just like me. I literally have to un-make a hotel bed before I can sleep in it. The duvet has a top sheet and a bottom sheet, then there’s a sheet over the mattress. (And then there’s also a big thick bed spread over the entire mess along with those totally useless decorative pillows.) I pull all this crap off the bed and start over. I end up with a bottom sheet over the mattress and one top sheet and sleeping pillows. An entire corner of the room is now taken up by a pile of bedding which consists of a bed spread, decorative pillows, at least one sheet and a duvet; aka a big, fat, worthless quilt. And guess where bedbugs like to hang out: “Nesting locations can vary greatly including luggage, vehicles, furniture and bedside clutter” – Wikipedia. (I think that my pile of useless bedding and bedding accessories would qualify as clutter.)

So what’s my point? Form doesn’t always follow function and function doesn’t always follow form. Sometimes pretty turns into ugly. And if something is likely to end up in a pile on the floor, maybe it’s not worth doing in the first place.

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