It was almost bedtime when my roommate came to my door. “I just want to warn you that my head’s been itchy,” she said. “I’ve already separated the laundry.”
The next day we went into full-force pesticide. The linens were washed, the clothes quarantined. A trip to the pharmacy confirmed our suspicions, and a hair treatment was bought. The box, bottle, and instructions were plastered with smiling faces of characters who obviously had never known the maddening tickle of piojos, the Spanish word for lice.
Piojo-an important word to know, especially for teachers
Many years ago I had a similar experience with uninvited guests. Their stay must have lasted a week, but my scalp will remember them for a lifetime. This time I was the one on the other side of the white gloves, helping to comb out salt-sized pieces that clung to their posts.
Kara did a lot of online research about eradicating the bichos. Reading instructions such as, “Vacuum the floor and furniture” and “Dry items on the hot cycle for at least 20 minutes,” reminded us once again of our cushy life state-side. Here we have neither a vacuum nor a dryer. This is not a phenomenon of the young–I can’t think of a single person here who owns a dryer. And, judging from the amount of laundry we see drip-drying from balconies all around the city, the norm is the opposite of what we were originally used to.
Everything is back to normal in our piso. This situation also explains why, after thinking about how I would be working with children for five more months, I found a salon and got my hair cut.