A Lesson I Learned From My Encounter With a Pesky Fly

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This is a dirty story about a fly. If you don’t want to be grossed out, stop reading now. Hahaha.

Okay… you’ve been warned.

It was just one ordinary evening.

I ladled some steaming soup into my bowl and sat cross-legged in front of my computer. It was thirty minutes before my first class in the evening. And then, it happened. A fly came buzzing near my ear, hovering over my food. It was smaller than a blowfly but it was a lot bigger than a housefly. I did not know how in the world the fly came in. I never leave my door open and all of my four windows are equipped with a fine mesh wire—not even a tiny mosquito could come in.  Most importantly, there were no piles of garbage anywhere near my apartment building so I did not really know where the fly came from. Of course, I was upset.

That evening, I was preparing for my nonstop classes ( as in not even a minute of break time) from 7:25-10:30. I really needed to have a full stomach---but, instead of eating my hot soup, I covered it---and ferociously started my war against the winged intruder. Covid-19 was already sweeping over the metropolitan and our government had declared a total lockdown. I did not want to have a germ-related illness  especially  amid the lockdown/pandemic, so you can just imagine how badly I wanted those six dirty little legs out of my tiny space.

My plan was to get rid of the fly in any way that I could and wash/disinfect the place afterwards. I rolled up a newspaper and started hitting the fly with it.  I ended up hitting the air. The fly escaped my weapon and it landed on my table. I got a book and tried to smash it. My pens on the table bounced due the intensity of my strike, but the fly was again buzzing over my head. I did not want any of those tiny legs to land on me.

I searched Google on how to effectively get rid of flies and Google said that flies are attracted to brightness. I turned on the lights in the common area and turned off the light in my small unit, and I opened the door. I did not hear any buzzing after that. Convinced that the fly had finally gone out, I came in to my unit, closed the door, and turned on the light. The fly was perched at the corner of another table. Slowly, I approached the fly---and did my best to hit it with a book. The fly escaped again. This went on and on and on for about 20 minutes. At one point, I was convinced that I hit the fly, but I could not see any sign of a dead fly.

With only 10 minutes remaining before my first class, it was apparent that I could not do anything about it anymore, so I changed my mindset. I Googled  the lifespan of a fly. It said 28 days. Judging from the size of the fly, I figured that it had already consumed half of its lifespan. I concluded that I had around 14 days to endure the presence of my most unwelcome visitor.

After my classes, I started searching for the fly, but I could not find it. I was very sure that it didn’t go away. Accepting defeat, I slowly ate my cold soup.

When I went to bed that night, I changed my mindset. There I was, worrying myself about the presence of a fly while other people in the city were worrying about how to put food on the table in the middle of a total lockdown. There I was, worrying that the pesky fly would land on me or on my food, while other people in the world are probably forced to sleep in the streets, with some flies and maybe even some cockroaches. With that in mind, I decided not to worry about the fly anymore.

The following morning, as soon as I had opened my eyes, I thought of the fly in spite of myself. I went on with my morning routine. With a cup of steaming black coffee and a sandwich, I sat in front of my laptop to prepare for my morning classes. And, there right under my desk, was the dead blowfly.

It took me some seconds to let my then foggy brain process it. How did it happen?

Maybe, in my twenty-minute struggle with the fly, somehow I hit it, I hurt it.  And then it went under my desk to rest in peace. I sincerely hoped it didn’t die in agony. I didn’t know why I felt sorry for the fly. Maybe it’s because of the realization that flies evolved around 250 million years ago, while the Homo Erectus evolved 1.9 million years ago. The flies came first.  They, too, have the right to live on the Earth---but  unfortunately for that particular  fly, it entered a territory  where it wasn’t wanted, where it was viewed as a menace.

But, what’s the lesson I want to point out?

First, I did what I could. I did not just watch the fly and let it pester me; I did what I could. And when I did the best that I could do but I could not achieve the result I wanted, that’s when I changed my attitude toward the situation. I think the same applies to the majority of the situations we are in. When we seem to be stuck in a predicament, we just do what we can, the best that we can, and just watch things unfold. And this brings me to my second point.

Second, I just let things take their course. Convinced that I could not get rid of the fly by myself, I decided to just let nature take its course and wait for its lifespan to end. But see? The problem took care of itself, the problem solved itself. I honestly did not expect to see the fly dead under my desk.

I slowly picked up the fly with some tissue paper and sanitized/disinfected the spot where it lay. I checked the time at the bottom right corner of my laptop. It was time for my first class.


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