The other night I couldn’t sleep. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with a mosquito buzzing around my head. The lil’ buggers here are much more aggressive than the ones in parts of the U.S. where I’ve lived, and now is the time of the year when they seek refuge indoors, out of the cold and (literally) into the arms of humans. It seems as if they visit you, not once, not twice, but thrice a night for a hemoglobin refill. Fed up with the inconsiderate bloodsucker, I turned on the bedroom light, tracked it down, and mercilessly dispatched the annoying critter with a fly swatter. I returned to bed victorious over my quashed foe, but by then I couldn’t fall back to sleep. At 4:30 a.m., another nasty cretin buzzed around my head. Fed up once again, I ended up getting up for the rest of the day. Mosquito net is the surest way to eliminate annoying mosquitoes, but we decided to forego a net, because we did not need one last year. What a mistake.
To avoid a repeat assault last night, I tried something new to discourage mosquitoes from accosting me–I turned on the fan full bore. The air turned cool, and I hunkered down to keep warm, but I wasn’t berated by any mosquitoes. I had a blissful, buzz-free night. As an added precaution to keep the mosquitoes at bay, I closed the bedroom door. Fortunately, I survived. Most Koreans believe in "fan death," a condition where an individual in a closed room with a running fan faces a heightened risk of death. That’s right–if you close the door and run an electric fan, you are more likely to die. The alleged causes are many, including suffocation, poisoning, and hypothermia. Is it true? Ask a Korean, they will probably tell you "yes." Ask a non-Korean, and you are likely to hear strong skepticism. As a foreigner, I am more than willing to run the risk of fan death, particularly if running a fan in a closed room helps me avoid another, more credible, cause of death–mosquito death. At the very least, my skin will look better, and I won’t be subject to so many mosquito welts!