My late mother used to say outrageous things, great sweeping remarks about the nature of life in general. I’d tell her she was wrong, and she’d argue she was right… and much to my dismay, she always turned out to be right.
Except about one thing: my mother told me you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
I usually don’t have flies in my loft. I have other annoying creatures, both human and non-human, but not flies. Something changed, though, when I awoke one morning with the thought in my head that I should eat more fresh fruit.
Ignoring my own advice to never go grocery shopping while hungry, I threw on some clothes and rushed to a nearby food market. The moment I walked into the place, a shelf groaning with organic strawberries caught my eye. The winsome fruit was exactly the shade of alizarin crimson I favor in oil paint, hair, wine…and strawberries.
I grabbed a pound of the berries and headed toward the checkout counter.
As soon as I got home, I washed some berries and popped them into my mouth. They tasted so good, I gave my reflection in the mirror a double thumbs up. I put the remaining berries in my refrigerator to feast upon later.
Several hours later, after a satisfying session of painting, I took a break for a snack. When I opened the refrigerator door, clouds of fruit flies flew out and converged upon my kitchen counter, which held the remains of my previous night’s party. The unwashed wine glasses especially attracted the tiny, winged vermin.
I ran a sink full of hot water and liquid soap, plunging the wine glasses into lavender-scented suds. Most of the fruit flies perished immediately. A few of them escaped, so I rolled up a copy of The New York Times and taped it into place, fashioning a deadly artisanal swatter.
Then I marched the uneaten fruit to the dumpster outside.
The next few days were hellish. Every time I thought I’d killed the last of the fruit flies, a new batch would appear. I put out a little dish of honey, thinking the vermin would get stuck in it and I could squish them to death, but they ignored the honey. All they wanted to do was hover around my head, making it difficult to do anything constructive.
It was time for a fruit fly trap.
If I’d lived near a cute little hardware store, I’d have gone there to ask if they had any fruit fly traps. But all the cute little hardware stores have been gentrified out of my neighborhood, so I had to go shopping online.
Oddly enough, no one had fruit fly traps for sale online, but I found lots of DIY hacks. Several involved filling a shallow container with apple cider vinegar and squirting a dab of dishwashing liquid into the vinegar.
Luckily I had all the required supplies in my loft, so I made a fruit fly trap and put it on the kitchen counter.
Within two hours, 43 fruit flies had drowned.
Three days, later, the infestation was over.
The possibility that my mother was wrong about other things besides how to catch flies has opened up a whole new world of potentials. For example, what if it’s not true that the early bird gets the worm? What if it’s not true that if you make your own bed, you have to lie in it?
What if it’s not true that it’s a man’s world and nobody can ever change it?