It greeted me New Year’s day, 2018, by nagging me non-stop.
At the garment factory I frequent, a couple of Indian boys visit periodically at the request of their employer (our customer) to perform random quality inspections. With them, they bring their own eating utensils, including plates. They are strict vegetarians and won’t eat off of dishes that have ever served dead animal, even if the remnants have been thoroughly washed off. They also lightly sweep in front of them as they walk so as not to kill any insects. It’s part of their religious culture and belief.
Not to be critical, but the custom and practice aren’t logical. I could be wrong if the washed plate still harbors negative energy from a piece of flesh that was once there, doing the eater harm (which seems over-the-top far-fetched). But the practice of sweeping insects from your footpath to avoid squashing them is like saying “I only care about that which I can see, not what I cannot see.” Science is showing us that the overwhelming majority of life forms are smaller than we can visually detect. Therefore, this sect of religion must believe that the value of life is dependent on size. But then again, religious beliefs tend to evolve with scientific discoveries.
Anyway, I digress. Although I think it’s quite pointless and even silly, to sweep insects from your walking path, I have become softer on the outright massacre of nuisance insects. Oh, I still annihilate, without regret, groups of small ants that appear in the kitchen, or another part of my home. But it must be the books I’ve been reading about the connectivity of all sentient beings, that I now tend to leave the errant spider or housefly alone. I do my best to prevent them spinning webs inside the house or landing on my food, so I shoo them away rather than squash them without thought.
However, the menace who joined my household last week on New Years Day tested my newfound anti-assassination resolve because it seemed particularly attracted to me. No amount of shooing kept it from landing on my exposed skin. But I over-exaggerate. It did give me a short break from every 15-20 shoos. I tried coaxing it out of the balcony door or the windows but it would not leave. The weather is pleasant outdoors. I leave the apartment at every opportunity, so why was the fly so insistent on staying in my small enclosed habitat? Hmm,…I guess that is why they are called houseflies. They’ve been following humans around the globe for thousands of years. They pester us on every continent from the Arctic Circle to the Equator.
Yesterday, after six days in its new digs, my new unwanted pet must have called a few of its cousins. That kind of turned the corner for me. Yes, they are sentient beings, but they also carry pathogens. So I twisted a hand towel and snapped them out. It took a while and I considered it an exercise in delicacy. I did my best to scare them away without inflicting pain (I think). But one remained. I presume it was the original from one week ago as it had the same pesty insistence. I thought about leaving it alone, knowing its average lifespan is only 15-30 days; nevertheless, I went about swatting at it with a renewed vigor. I don’t think I killed it so it appears to have finally left.
Because the temperature is warm, the screen-less balcony door and window stay open when I’m at home. So sure, one, or more, of those pesky flying insects will invade my apartment soon. So only time will tell if my restraint will show a newer, softer, and kinder Freddie Spaghetti insect killing machine.