BOSTON. Claire and Dan Paulsen are residents of this city’s newly-energized waterfront scene, “urban pioneers” who have lived through years of construction for the sweeping view of the ocean they have now that the “Big Dig” construction project is finished.
“We both love the city, and we can walk to work from our condo,” says Claire, an associate at a mid-size law firm who normally works late into the night. Dan, by contrast, is an assistant vice president at bank who likes to crash on the couch after calling on customers all day. “I’m too tired to do housework at night, and on weekends we like to get out and have fun.”
That dynamic, repeated throughout the city, has created a problem that city officials say they are not equipped to handle; giant dust bunnies, some as big as five feet in diameter, escaping from underneath beds and rolling through crowded streets, knocking over pedestrians and causing havoc on crowded expressways.
“We need new resources to fight the threat of dust bunny violence,” says Director of Household Security Thomas McDermott. “We can barely handle purse-snatchings, gang shootings and rats. Actually we can’t handle them, but you get my point.”
Dealing with dust bunnies poses unique challenges, as environmentalists say the creatures are protected under the state and federal endangered species laws. “We’re encroaching on their space,” says Evelyn Normand, a college student who joined a pro-dust bunny demonstration timed to coincide with a major biotech industry conference here. “They’re as much a part of nature as belly-button lint.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he will apply for federal disaster funds to combat the growing threat of dust bunnies, but moved to assure tourists and conventioneers that the city is safe. “I’m a big one for walkin’ the city and streets and I don’t see no unusual amounts of dust nowhere,” he noted. “It always looks this dirty.”