Sunday, 12 April 2015

Arbeit macht frei


With the first of the warm Spring evenings, we have a few river-flies coming into the kitchen having been attracted by the lights and, by sunrise, I come downstairs to find them batting against the window trying to get out, attracted by the stronger light of the sun.

In early April, there may be two or three flitting about on the glass, and I spend about three minutes each on them, blowing, pushing and generally encouraging them to make for the open part of the window, which is a short hop over a five-inch piece of wood to freedom, but they have not lived long enough to know the difference between transparent glass and the unobstructed exterior.

More accurately, glass hasn't been around long enough - they have probably been evolving for quite a few million years before it was invented.

When real Summer arrives, they come from the river in their thousands if not millions, and my attitude towards them changes dramatically. I simply don't have the time to release them all without a vacuum cleaner, and if I used one it would kill them anyway, so they expire even sooner than their allotted life-span decrees, and lie around in dead heaps, which is when I do use a vacuum cleaner to pick them up.

In their twos and threes, I can really see them as little pieces of sentient life worth helping and preserving, but in their thousands I lose my empathy.

This is how the Nazis managed to get ordinary people to behave like monsters and exterminate millions of their fellow species, huddled together in comparatively small camps. What a brilliant and cynical piece of strategy, to exploit this natural and inevitable exhaustion by overloading the emotional capacity of simple soldiers.

Now if I were to look upon one single river fly struggling to escape into the outside in order to fulfil its brief and - to me - pointless life and feel nothing at all, then I would have probably have the right psychological make-up to be a fine and efficient camp commandant.

21 comments:

  1. I swatted my first wasp of 2015 yesterday.

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  2. Hey Tom:
    Here we have those darned stink bugs and they don't expire quickly. And unfortunately it's not a good idea to vacuum them up because of the smell. I try to think 'well at least they are not cockroaches'.

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  3. The worst river flies I have ever seen were one year inMay in Canada - apparently we arrived more or less on the same day as the flies did. They were enormous and oftenmanaged to wriggle through the fly screens on all the windows. Absolutely awful - no way could I ever get used to those.

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  4. I'm afraid that, as much as I try to be kind to all animals/insects etc. I really am not that keen on flies Tom …. they don't really have many redeeming qualities, especially en masse !! { … sorry flies } XXXX

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  5. Hmm. I may give up on this topic. It looks as though I have unwittingly side-tracked everyone.

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    1. If you wanted to talk about Nazis and mob mentality, well, it's too nice of a day here for that.

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    2. It's never too nice a day to talk about Nazis.

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    3. (It's Springtime for Hitler, and Germany...) Guess the fillum...

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    4. Hahahaa! The Producers!
      R and I sing that tune a lot - often switched Springtime w/tea time or some other time

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  6. Help me someone. I thought this was one of my better recent posts. You know - cover all sorts of things without making a fuss; try and bring a little understanding into the mind-set of Pol Pot; set a gauge by which people who are worried that they may be psychopathic can refer to in order to make themselves feel better without resorting to calling up the Simon Weistenthal Foundation anonymously - that sort of thing.

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    1. A fine post it is! (Never mind that the jump from flies to the topic of Nazis was a bit of a long stretch for me. And, as Carol said, it's too nice of a day here for that, too. But one must not be too picky. I am delighted that you are posting at all. Posts that might seem too ordinary at first glance (i.e. oversized nightshirts) are actually quite interesting.

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    2. I just realized that I never closed my first parenthesis. So just stick it in there somewhere.

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    3. If I was a little younger, I might treat you all to daily pictures of me in night or underclothes, but for now I will stick to flies, but not the sort that are stitched into the front of my trousers (UK) or hang around my pants (UK).

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    4. Thank fuck your a pensioner

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    5. Pensioners get pensions. I'm just old.

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  7. I was impressed by your "explanation" (hypothesis? not sure) of why people act as they do and then I read the comments and your replies and I'm not too sure what to comment now.

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    1. Just copy and paste the Hattatt's below. That'll do.

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  8. Darling Tom,

    This is our third time of reading this post. We felt that it demanded much reflection before commenting.

    First, you conjure up delicately and beautifully in our minds those early spring days when the sun is seasonally too hot and both flora and fauna become confused about what time of year it actually is. It brings a glorious lethargy when one is keen to bask in the warmth of a sun which has been missed over the long days of winter. And, this leads to ponderings, wild imaginings or what the mind will.

    And then you shake us from our languid musings into the horror of the Holocaust. How people became objects and whose mass destruction made the world acutely aware of how Man's inhumanity to Man was a reality and could ever be thus given the right conditions.

    A chilling thought on the lazy hazy days of spring pretending to be summer.

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    1. Yes, but what about the insects?

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    2. .......metaphors on the flight path of our imaginations.........

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