Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I hate flies. There's a reason for that.

Like everyone else in the world, I have some weird quirks about myself. One of them is my hatred for flies. Ironic, isn't it, that I live on a horse farm? Flies come with the territory here. All flies must die. It's my mantra. My phobia all stems from a traumatic event from my past. Well, to me, it was traumatic. To everyone else involved, it must have been pretty funny.
I didn't always live in the country. I was raised in Suburban America and it wasn't until I was about 20 years old that I discovered country life. My friends were renting a rather unique rental property in Chester County, PA and needed another couple to help with expenses. It was a short-term deal, and after careful consideration (you can't just live with anyone, you know) my boyfriend (future husband) and I moved into a converted barn, next to a pond, in the middle of nowhere, with my friends and their kids.
The barn was split into two dwellings and the owner/builder and his family lived in the one half while my friends, Jeff & Karen and their three children, Renee, Adrienne, and Stephen, lived in the other half.
I fell in love with the countryside, and with family life at their home. You've seen their two girls on this site, Renee and Adrienne. They were just little when we lived with them, and I loved those kids. My husband had taken a job with Jeff, and I got a position managing a weekly newspaper for a Mennonite man who owned a huge grocery store.
My favorite time of the day was when the family was together at dinnertime and afterwards. The kitchen was always full of hubub, kids doing their homework, Karen or Jeff working their magic on homemade dishes that we all shared together. Everyone took turns cleaning up in the kitchen. It was the big family that I suddenly realized I'd been missing. It was real country life, with a woodburning stove and a rustic atmosphere. Kittens had just been born in a box in the kitchen, and life was good.
The house sat on top of a big hill that had a creek at the bottom. This was a different way of life for me and I found myself falling in love with it. It was early spring and everything was beautiful. Amish country was just down the road and I was the happiest I'd been in awhile. A cornfield had just been planted across the street, there were sheep out back, horses and cattle were grazing, and of course, there were the ubiquituous flies.
To combat the fly problem, my friends had these little things I was unfamiliar with. I found out they were simply called fly strips, and they were hung about in their kitchen. The flies would get caught on the super sticky surface of the fly strip, and then eventually die from all the exertion to get going again. Either that, or starvation.
Regardless, these fly strips sort of freaked me out. But I loved everything, absolutely everything else about my new home with my favorite people.
I was strong, though and I got past my fear of these strips, becoming quite adept at taking them down and putting up a fresh one. The strips would get completely covered with flies. Ick! I forced myself to do this chore to prove I was not a wimp.
Like I said, I loved being with the family in the kitchen at dinnertime and afterwards. All activity went on there, and one evening after dinner, as we were joking around before going for our evening walk, somehow, I don't even remember how, one of the fly strips had come loose from the ceiling, and my head accidentally bumped into it. Ever so slightly. But it was enough, sadly. I'm sorry, it's difficult to type this because I'm loathe to write anything this gross.
Although it's difficult to type the next words, what I'm trying to tell you is that a flystrip full of flies that were still alive and buzzing and exhausting themselves from being stuck to stickiness that only the devil himself could have concocted, well all this was stuck to the left side of my head. And even when people came running to help me, and pulled the aforementioned abomination off my head, the flies continued to be stuck and buzzing to the remaining devil's brew of sticky crap that remained in my hair.
Oh my God, the horror. I was so traumatized by the event that I can't even remember how we got all the stick and the flies out. Jeff, if you're reading this and you remember, please don't even tell me. I don't want to think about it. I think I remember strong dishwashing liquid, the smell of paint thinner, and scissors. I also remember shuddering involuntarily every time I thought about it, for a long long time.
I know I woke up screaming sometimes.
Ok, maybe you all don't think it's that bad, but that fly strip was covered with hundreds of big juicy black flies. They were still alive, for the love of God! Oh, my God. Just typing this . . .
Because of my hatred for the fly, over the years, I've acquired an ability to kill them that would rival that of any sharpshooter. I use a simple fly swatter. And the secret to my fly killing ability includes this criteria:
#1) Always keep your flyswatter in the same accessible place.
#2) The fly must be hit only when it's on a killable surface.
I don't waste fly swats. And I always get my fly. I could care less whether or not you think I'm crazy and I think you just needed to know these things about me.
Or not.
OK, I have issues. And one of them involves houseflies.


Mary said...

Yikes, I'm cringing just thinking about it. I have a particular loathing for deerflies, which used to bite like the devil when we went trail riding. But flies stuck to your head? I think if that had happened to me, I would have had my head shaved! So, all in all, I think you were pretty brave. :)

abb said...

With Mary on that one. After I had thrown up and fainted, woulda had my head shaved! All flies are horrid - you know those huge, gigantic ones? They just about send me around the bend! If one is in my house, I'll stalk it down and make sure it is dead. Can't stand the thought of it landing on any surface I might use.

I can just picture you with that stuff all over the side of your head...ewwww! I'm glad you're not permanently traumatized!

Mental P Mama said...

Must be an estrogen thing. I hunt them down and kill them, too. Swatters are strategically placed WMD's around here. But the no pest strip in the hair. No way. I would have needed therapy.

brneyedgal967 said...

Egads! I have to agree with you and the consensus of other comments... flies are bad, bad, bad. They must be killed.

You were brave. I would have completely freaked also.

Marchelle said...

EEWWW EEEWWWW EEEEWWWWW!!!!!! I would have TOTALLY reacted the same way!! ICK!!!!! The worst ones are the big fat slow ones. You know what I'm talking about? YUCK!!!

Russell said...

We are all human, aren't we?!! I don't blame you for feeling the way you do after having that happen to you!! Goodness!

When I was a small child I was visiting a person's house and their parakeet was flying free in their living room. I was not very comfortable with this creature flying around and, of course, it landed on MY head! To this day I do not like being around birds that are flying free inside some building - such as at a zoo.

I agree those fly strips are not the best things to have hanging around a barn or any other place! I use spray in my barn to keep the flies down but, yes, they do go hand in hand with horses.

Take care.

Shimmy Mom said...

What a story. Oh that would be awful. As far as hating flies I feel your pain and all I can say is Amen sista!
Death to the Flies!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Oh, my! I'd say that's a good reason to hate flies. I don't like flies, and swat them when seen, but I don't loathe them in the quite same way, not having had a traumatic experience such as yours. I loathe, detest, fear and hate spiders -- when they are inside my house. Must. kill. spiders!

Anonymous said...

Remember when Pop would slap the seat next to us in the car and we'd jump our of our skin, and he's say, "I thought I saw a greenie." (as in green-head fly, ones that bite!) Then he'd ask, "How many stars?" And we'd tell him how much we jumped in terms of bells or stars, if he'd really gotten us.
He loved that game. I loved the "shit-eating grin" he'd have ( a term I'm borrowing from Pop himself).

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

Yikes! Your story makes my butt pucker. Not an entirely pleasant experience. I have a similar hatred for Japanese Beetles, which I mention in great detail on my blog. I HATE their destruction. They are meaningless, vile creatures and are, I'm certain, directly related to the FLY. Crush. Kill. Destroy.

Jo said...

I remember when I was a teenager I worked in a summer lodge. The chef was from Austria, and he was pretty adept with his kitchen knives. If a fly landed anywhere in his kitchen, he could whack that fly in two with just one, swift chop of his knife. He would then sterilize it in hot soapy water, and go back to work. I think the word got out around the fly network, and Chef's kitchen had very few flies.

Gosh, I shudder just thinking about your encounter. *Yuck*

Anonymous said...

OMG! as you know I was at p-pop's on Sunday. Renee joined me as we consoled p-pop at the loss of Githens. We actually had the same freaking conversation about the nasty fly paper. We were laughing sooooo hard at the fact that that nasty tape hung in our house and actualy untimately always some how ended up sticking to our hair. GROSS!!!!! What the F@#%! that is just wrong; hence my anger with flies! Freaking Gross! miss you. i will forward this to Renee and Stephen

Pony Girl said...

Oh you poor thing, I can not imagine!! That would freak me out. More the fact if it was stuck in my hair and I had to use drastic measures (scrissors) to get it out. Although, I think a sticky tape full of spiders would be the ultimate terror for me. I'd probably faint!!
Love your description of living the rustic life in the shared barn....any pictures from those days?

Anonymous said...

regular house flies annoy me...but those horse flies that bite?? Shudder!!

No, I do NOT think you're weird to have a fly phobia. Actually sounds quite sane to me...

Country Girl said...

Thank you for letting me share my fetishes and phobias with you and not judging me. This was a tough one to write because the memory still bothers me.

Adrienne (Acorn), it's really weird that you, Renee and Jeff were talking about this the day before I posted it. Strange!

You remember that evening, don't you? It was horrible!! (And NOT funny!!)

~ C.G.

Anonymous said...

Dear all. I think i need to admit this. I hate flies. I have a phobia for them. If one is buzzing in my room, i will track it till midnight. I spend 5-10 mins each day tracking flies in the house and killing them. God knows how many swatters i have used. If a persistent fly is in my room, i will use the 'light of death'. Basically, i close the door, curtains and turn off the light while turning on the bathroom light. Flies are attracted to the light n in the bathroom, no one can hear them scream. Its easier to kill them because of thr small enclosure. I could hear the buzz of the wings from 4 ft away. I think im sick