Monday, March 09, 2009

Character development

I used to be a killer. Not a wanton psychopath, but if any creature pictured on a pesticide can crossed my path I was willing to wipe it out. I was an enthusiastic sprayer, but I was also prepared to get the rolled-up newspaper and fight hand to hand, or actually hand to thorax. In my chaotic bachelor flat I had a map of the world stuck up high on the wall. Once an irritatingly noisy fat fly settled on Scotland, almost but not quite out of reach. I got the newspaper and delivered a terrific Wimbledon-winning overhead smash. The fly passed away suddenly after a very short illness, leaving a splodge around the Aberdeen region. Another time I missed the fly but whacked my hand on the sharp rim of a saucepan. I still carry the scar.

At some point I have softened, and now I almost never kill anything. I try to usher flies out a window. Some of them are just too stupid and I collect them not-very-carefully in a tissue and throw them out. They are flies after all. Everything else I am prepared to catch in hand or tea-towel and carry out to safety. I have a broom technique for spiders. All this is not due to any conversion to buddhism or anything. The spray and whack just doesn't seem necessary now, somehow.

At present it seems to be millipede season. They are a simple nice clean pick up/throw out. Most mornings, we have about a dozen chugging around the bathroom like little trains. They seem to be coming up the drains, so I have started a campaign of tactical plugging and blocking, which seems to be working. The bathplug stays in, there is a small heavy bucket over the shower drain, and the one in the middle of the bathroom floor is covered by a cottage-craft doorstopper named Mrs Mouse. The floor is black and white checked, and I suspect the millipedes have the sense to scoot onto a black square when they hear me coming. Which makes any sensible person ask the question - given sufficient practice at this could a millipede learn to play checkers?

No comments: