Moth Attack in Denmark

By Dave Fox
Ærøskøbing, Denmark

I’m in Denmark at the moment where it is 3:40 in the morning. I’ve been guiding tours, and have not been blogging enough. But I thought I would enlighten you as to some drama unfolding in my hotel room at this very moment.

I cannot sleep, due to a nagging cough and general feeling of crapishness. Someone in my group asked me today, “If you get sick, will they bring in a replacement guide for a few days?”

Ha! Cute idea. But no. If I get sick, I must do all I can to hide it from the group, lest they begin asking every four minutes if I am feeling any better.

So life here in insomnia land was sucky enough already when the moth showed up.

I do not like uninvited guests in my hotel room, especially uninvited guests of the totally-fucking-hyper moth variety. I don’t know where Mothy came from, but the next thing I new, he was flapping around my desk lamp, 18 inches from my congested nose, in that frenzied way that moths sometimes flap around, banging into walls and making a horrible racket. This was not going to be helpful in getting back to sleep.

I dug an outdated copy of the International Herald Tribune out of my backpack and readied myself for battle. But all was quiet now. The moth was hiding. Lurking. He was after me and he knew I was after him.

I stood very still. So still that I tricked him! Ha! He reemerged, resumed his flapping. He was an exceptionally big moth — so big that for a fleeting moment, I wondered if it might actually be the bastard child of one of the bats that flies around outside my window at night.

But no. It was a moth.

I approached stealthily, stalking the winged beast. Slowly, I raised up my folded Herald Tribune, and then, wham! I got it!

Well, sort of.

The moth was stunned but managed to escape into a lamp shade.

It is difficult to murder a moth who is hanging out on the inside of a lamp shade. At least with the International Herald Tribune as your murder weapon. It was time for plan B.

Last year in Saigon, when a parade of ants invaded my hotel room in a quest for my Ritz crackers, I discovered that spray-on sunscreen doubles as an effective insect murdering spray. On ants at least. But would it would on a moth? I decided to find out.

I blasted my Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock (SPF 70) into the lampshade, at which point the moth flew out onto the wall and the light bulb started smoking. Burning down your hotel is probably an effective way to obliterate a moth, but it is a frowned upon technique here in peace-loving Denmark. But the smoke settled down and now the moth was on the wall behind the lamp — still not in a spot where I could whap it with my newspaper — so I tried more spray.

This just annoyed the moth, who flew to a different wall.

A different wall with a direct shot.

So I tried again with the Herald Tribune. Whap!

Got it. No more Mothy.

Or so I thought.

As I sat down to write this blog, the moth came limping up the wall as if to flip me the wing. It was as if he were back from the dead, haunting me now. I grabbed my moth-stained newspaper off the floor and whapped the moth again. The moth fell to the floor, but it was still moving. I whapped it again. And again. Whapwhapwhapwhapwhapwhap. Six whaps in all, until the moth was definitely not moving.

It’s 4 a.m. now. The summer sun is beginning to rise. I have a little less than five hours before I meet my group. I should try to sleep a little while. But after the moth hunt, adrenaline is coursing through me.

I imagine I will have a tiresome, sleep-deprived day ahead. Stupid moth.

Published on Sunday, July 18, 2010

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