Just like Sedaris has, I have my own special relationships with some of the infestations in my home. I suppose I don't bond with many of them. Actually, I usually ask most of them to leave, politely of course. The sugar ants are by far the most uncooperative and intrusive, but the ones I really can't tolerate are the roaches. I rarely see them in the house, but if I do, then it's pretty much a scene - hardcore yelling and throwing things. But spiders, especially, are helpful creatures, for the most part, so I usually just ask if they wouldn't mind moving their homes for a few days while company visits.
Last night I befriended a very large fly. He has a striped black and grey body and red eyes, and he told me his name is Gilbert Flannigan. He was just passing through when some thoughtess person closed the door on him, keeping him stuck here until morning. That's what his travel agent implied, anyway, though she didn't come right out and say it. It turns out that Gilbert is very interested in me, and because I literally can't even harm a fly, I tolerated him last night as he watched me get ready for bed. This was mildly uncomfortable, and I have to admit, I felt a little self conscious. Once I turned off the lights to go to sleep, I heard Gilbert flying around, and I thought, "Rich is probably right. He probably is just looking for a place to die." And then I was a little sad for him.
This morning was typical. I got up when I heard our Baby Smuch stirring. I turned on the coffee pot and checked my email. Smuch and I played for a while, Rich got up eventually, and then I decided to bathe. I drew my bathwater and settled in to what I would call an "almost perfect" bath - a nice temperature, a recent New Yorker Magazine in hand. Right in the middle of an article about how McCain ruined a perfectly good Sunday afternoon by kicking a puppy (or something like that), Gilbert showed up.
"I'm not dead, yet" was the reply.
"OK," I thought, "that's a pretty resilient beastie, and who am I to end his life? Just because he eats poop and lands on stuff...stuff that my baby touches.."
And that's when it happened!
Gilbert flew directly into my bathwater! I started gagging. My brain was all confused. This was so gross, and yet, I felt horrible that he was struggling to swim. And then came this mental montage: "Flies can't swim, right? Well they sort of can. Look at Gilbert. He's swimming. No. He's flailing... Drowning.. If a fly's wings get wet can he fly? Then he can't eat. Or leave. Or do anything else that flies are wont to do. Why am I doing nothing? I'm complete shit!"
And just like that, I vowed to save Gilbert.
I looked around for something to help because God forbid I would actually touch Gilbert. I ripped out a page of my New Yorker, and fashioned a make-shift buoy for him to cling to. Like a good fly, Gilbert grabbed on. I flipped him out of the bath and after standing on the side of the tub for a pulse check, he flew away. I finished my bath and went about my day.
This afternoon (four hours after the event) Gilbert came to see me in the kitchen to say, I would assume, thank you. He must be pretty grateful, seeing as he let me take his picture, and on the David Sedaris book, no less.