Thursday, July 10, 2008
Early morning horror
After setting aside today to sleep in and have a relatively quiet, unproductive morning, I was awakened at 5:45 by a loud, intermittent buzzing noise. After setting aside the other possibilities (too early for a lawn mower, too loud for any piece of electronic equipment, too irregular for the refrigerator) I realized that the source of the sound must be some sort of insect trapped in my room. After turning on the lights, throwing open the blinds and staggering clumsily around the room for ten minutes I finally found the source - an enormous greenbottle fly, lying on the floor behind my desk and writhing as though in the throes of death. All the while keeping up its ear-piercing buzzing.
I put the creature out of its misery and was tormented by guilt almost immediately - after all, I and some fellow Russophiles had been watching Prokofiev's War and Peace that evening, in which the mortally wounded Prince Andrei sings as loudly as possible for ten minutes before finally dying, and is rewarded with tumultuous applause. Who could blame an intelligent greenbottle for assuming that this is the usual way for a dying person to behave? It is us, the humans, who should be attacked for maintaining such a vicious double standard - applauding opera stars for singing a swan song before dying, but responding with anger and violence when blowflies try to do the same.
In my defense, Prince Andrei's demise occurred at the more reasonable hour of 11:30 PM.
Wikipedia tidbit: apparently the larvae of greenbottle flies were used in a process called "maggot therapy" in the days before antibiotics!