I found out something about myself today. I am utterly lacking in killer instinct. As in, really TOTALLY lacking. Not just a-bit-wishy-washy-maybe-I-can-maybe-I-can’t, but utterly devoid of any hint of murderous ability.
You see, we’ve had a fly infestation in our kitchen for the last couple of weeks. Well, I suppose ‘infestation’ is a strong word as there are only two of them, but between them, these teeny flying beasts have been slowly driving me mad. Because they’re not placid flies. They don’t just find an appropriate resting place – a nice warm bit of window sill perhaps – on which to relax their wings, wash their feet and sun their hairy faces. They’re restless; always moving, flying around your head, crashing into your hair, crawling over the utensils, rising up out of the sink when you go to do the washing up. Day by day they’ve been getting steadily more irritating. And they’re in the kitchen. It’s unhygenic. I have a baby; he doesn’t need smelly fly-poo-feet everywhere.
Then this morning things finally came to a head. The baby was eating and a fly landed on his food… just as he was putting it into his mouth. I managed to leap forward and save fly and baby from an unfortunate fate but enough was enough. I was seized by a moment of rage a la Samuel L Jackson in Snakes on a Plane: I had HAD it with the *** flies in the *** kitchen!
In a split second I had grabbed a sheet of kitchen roll and launched myself rather bezerkly at a fly. I missed. Not loosing heart, I crept up on its friend and pounced. And missed again. Then, seeing one land on the work surface and taking very careful aim, I placed the kitchen paper on top of it. The fly was under the paper. One swift slap would have finished it off (and the kitchen roll would even have protected my hand from any unfortunate fly-jam). But I hesitated and the fly crawled out and flew off. And that’s when I realised that I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t bring myself to kill it. Or its irritating little mate.
Now, I generally think not wanting to kill things is a very positive trait. I grew up in ‘look after your fellow creatures’ sort of house and it’s been the way my husband and I bring up our sons too. Not for religious reasons just because, well, killing things isn’t kind. So we gently put woodlice in the bin (they like it in there apparently) and we trap spiders under glasses and put them outdoors, and generally avoid any stamping on (or smooshing of) little creatures.
But flies… should my non-killing stance really extend to them? Even when they’re probably spreading germs round my kitchen and like to settle on my children’s heads at the dinner table?
Maybe I lack some sort of ‘ruthlessness gene’. I just hope it doesn’t stop me from succeeding in other – less murderous – areas. Because I’m pretty sure there are times when a bit of killer instinct can be a good thing. Can’t it?