You live in a logging town. Over the past few years you saw strange and often malicious activity from the 3 biggest logging companies in your town. They were cutting trees at night, often young ones, their factories engaged in foul processing and it was obvious to almost everyone in town that something off was going on. Small loggers like yourself were losing business.
One day you wake up and someone is at your door. They seem to be hitting the doorbell pretty passionately. You open. A government official from the health services greets you with a smile and announces that your house is likely in grave danger. It is about to be overwhelmed with something that resembles “a really bad version of termite infestation’’, as he describes it. He also explains that the reason many trees have suddenly started disappearing from your town is because of these mysterious termites. You are sceptical.
Nonetheless, at first you try to understand whether the government official is being serious. Surely it can’t be that bad although you never dismiss a termite warning. You decide to hear them out. They continue explaining how during the past few days they got reports that many houses are infested with these kinds of termites. Two of those houses, especially old ones, with open sewage in their yards, bad foundations, leaky roofs, mold and high humidity, have become uninhabitable. But they can’t risk the entire town since based on their models the termites can reach your house as well. They show you pictures of the damage and the houses. It really looks horrible.
You try to reason with the man that your relatively new house seems to be ok. It is nothing like those old houses. You are spraying your house yearly with the proper pesticide. You don’t have any open sewage problems. You don’t have any humidity problems. Your foundations are sturdy and your roof is solid. There is no evidence of infestation either from your or your close neighbors that have good standing and houses. Nonetheless, you are willing to take some measures because you don’t want to spread the infestation to neighboring houses.
But your actions are not enough. The models the government agency has drawn from the reports are rather dire. The estimates show that your house will be equally fucked in just a few days if you don’t take the recommended measures. And so you do. There is now live monitoring of every room in your house from government officials. You are also required to inject pesticide 5 times a day around the house. Excess activity in specific rooms has to be limited so that the termites don’t emerge. Every activity that produces moisture is nearly prohibited. Every drain including the sink and toilet have to be sealed during the day and only opened while you are using them. You have to log every movement in the house in a piece of paper and report it to the officials in your house before you move. Any member violating these rules is to be confined in their room. The excuse is that you are endangering other houses in case your irresponsibility takes down your own house. These measures seem excessive but even neighbors seem to agree that they have to be taken for the well-being of everybody.
For the next few days you live in fear and panic. Everyday the official comes at your house telling you that other houses are getting infested. The numbers have increased. There are also reports that other houses that were previously infested and got rid of the infestation, are now reinfested. You hear rumors about giant termites that have glowing red eyes. Nothing is confirmed really. You begin to get scared. You are made to believe that your house is next. Trees continue to disappear although the government has announced a special planting project. Extra measures are now being taken. You are now basically confined in your room and take one trip to the fridge and bathroom. A few neighbors are starting to protest claiming that is all bullshit and an excuse for the 3 Big logging industries to cover-up their dirty business.
Then one day, while the numbers of the infested houses are still about the same, the government official comes and tells you that things are returning to normal. You are now allowed to visit the toilet, kitchen and bathroom as much as you need. You still need to log your movement in the house and maintain the protocols. The monitoring stays. They also announce that they are now placing cameras around the house. They are equipped with a new type of technology that detects termite infestations efficiently. It’s all for your health and safety.
You take a peek outside your house. All this time you didn’t notice that almost all the trees are gone. But you don’t pay attention since it was probably because of the termites. The government official tells you that these mysterious termites caused all the damage in your logging town. They ate the roots and so they had to cut them. All the sale proceedings went towards supporting the 3 main logging companies in your town so that the town’s economy won’t collapse. Anyone who thinks differently is a conspiracy theorist since there is no real proof of foul behavior.
There are a few neighbors still yelling that it was all bullshit so they could cut and sell your trees. There are no new termite infestations other than the ones happening in old houses. Everything returns to normal slowly but you are still reporting your whereabouts, there are cameras in your house and your logging business goes to shit. The government also forces you to plant new trees using money from your own pocket.