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Friday, August 6, 2010

BEDA 6: Supreme Master of the Flies

   With the onset of mid-August humidity comes the annual invasion of flies into my home. Last year, my kitchen was overrun by fruit flies and I did everything in my power to destroy them. I like to think I won, but I think nature helped me out a little. My fruit-loving enemies disappeared the moment it dropped below 75 degrees and the crisp breeze of Autumn nipped at the trees. Until last week, we'd barely seen a fly all summer, even though we keep our windows open around the clock in an attempt to circulate some air in our stifling studio apartment. When the first couple flying pests showed up, I just sighed, swatted them away and said, "Well I'd rather have flies than cockroaches." That's still true, but one week and dozens of flies later, I'm getting frustrated.
    I keep screens on the windows. More flies.
    I keep a tight kid on the trashcan. More flies.
    I take the trash out daily. More flies.
    I never leave food out. More flies.
    I clean the kitchen several times a day. MORE. FLIES.
    I'm a bit of a control freak. I like to have a complete handle over my life at al times. It's silly, but the flies have grown to symbolize all the ways I fail at keeping in control. Their presence torments me in a Edgar-Allen-Poe-lite kind of way. Yesterday I spent half the afternoon trying to kill flies with my spray bottle full of homemade cleaning solution (vinegar, water, dish soap) while Graham tried to swat them with a rolled up newspaper. The fly-frustration triggered an array of crazed, slightly depressed thoughts the whole evening at work, like: "I can't keep my apartment fly free. I didn't do all the laundry. I didn't get that article finished" etc. and triggered a minor panic attack right there in the middle of my book event. I rarely have panic attacks anymore--it came out of nowhere. And I blame the flies.
   I think they're trying to tell me something: I am not always in control. And I don't have to be.
       Sometimes flies invade apartments because it's August and the windows were open and there aren't any spiders around to eat them.
     Sometimes, the numbers on the scale will fluctuate up or down because bodies--like the rest of the parts that make up the self--are not stagnant.
     Sometimes I will not dance my best in class. This isn't because I'm awful and lazy and fat as I often tell myself. It's because I'm human and there's always room for improvement.

      To get me out of my fly-induced funk, I hung up a bunch of fly paper and went for a swim at the neighborhood rec center. Even though I only spent about thirty minutes doing laps, it felt like a kind of mini-vacation from life. In the water no one can reach you by cell phone or email. No one is working out on the elliptical next to you, looking over and trying to beat your speed. There are no flies to kill. It's safe and completely solitary.
     I hope I don't sound like a complete misanthrope. I like people, really. I just need time away. Also, anyone have any tips for ridding my life of flies (literal ones) besides this ghastly hanging sticky paper?


  1. I hate fruit flies! We have them in the kitchen as well and it is usually because we have fresh fruit on the counters and our city has a compost program where we put our scrap food and anything else that can be composted into a green bin, that bin usually attracts flies.
    I understand what you mean about being in control. I get that way when I don't know what is going to happen in the future.

  2. Flies = gross
    But I totally get you with the control freak thing. I'm prone to panic attacks, too. We both just need to relax and not overthink things so much (ha!). Anyway, glad you got to get some laps in. Good luck with getting those pests out of your house.

  3. You're not a missanthrope, you're just an introvert! You just need time by yourself to re-charge when you feel drained. I get that way too. And, I agree. The water is great for that.

    I've never had a problem with flies (literal ones). Not that they don't show up and make a bother of themselves sometimes, I just tend to ignore them so, I'm afraid I've never given much thought to killing them. Though, that's probably because I DO have a legitimate lazy streak. This means that I don't really have control problems but I have a LOT of other issues to deal with. On the whole 'Sarah and Grahm's epic fruit fly war' front, I'll look up fly killing techniques and get back to you. You could always nuke the little bastards. But then, you don't know what kind of neuclear technology THEY have. (Those flies can be very crafty...)