Saturday, May 25, 2013

Requiem for a mosquito

I originally published this blog in August 2010. In light of my renewed interest in blogging, online marketing and all things digital, I'm giving it a second life.

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I watched a mosquito die. And I felt sad.

I first noticed the little bloodsucker flying around my office window, trying in vain to break free. “Oh great,” I thought, “it probably bit me.” I thought about squishing it against the pane of glass but then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend recently in which we both professed our disdain for killing living things. I guess that includes mosquitoes too. Now if one is biting you, my friend said, that’s considered a karmic push and you’re justified in pushing back. But I hadn’t seen this particular bug latched on to me anywhere, so I left him to his futile buzzing.

This is how boring my day was – I kept checking back to see whether the mosquito had flown away or whether he was still in my midst. That’s when I noticed he’d stopped flying and was just sitting on the sill. “He’s not even going to make a move for me,” I thought. "Silly mosquito. Food is just a few feet away and you’re calling it quits."

I checked back in on my bug friend a few more times, but he stayed in place. Still twitching a leg now and then, but no longer flying. Then it dawned on me: he’s sitting there waiting to die. It’s weird, but I actually felt sorry for him. I couldn’t help thinking how horrible it must be to starve to death or die of thirst – I’m not sure which of these was his fate. Maybe the clock had just run out on him and he had nothing left to do but wait to stop breathing.

Is that what death is like? Or more accurately, is that what life is like? Sometimes I think so. On those days when I’m home alone with plenty of things to do but no motivation to do them, am I just sitting there waiting to stop breathing? Will anyone notice me in my final hours? Or will I sit on the window sill, wings still, waiting for the inevitable?

I came into the office this morning, and sure enough, the mosquito was still sitting in my window, though now he was officially dead. No rigor mortis, no comic-style legs up in the air, just complete inertia. I slid a piece of paper underneath him and deposited him in the trash so I wouldn’t keep looking at him all day. But it didn’t matter; I kept thinking about him anyway. He didn’t die via a deadly swat, but on his own terms, in his own time. All in all not a bad way to leave this world. When it’s my turn I hope fate affords me the same luxury.

1 comment:

beep0608 said...

I have had malaria three times so have very limited sympathy for mossies. In fact I got insanely vindictive after my first bout. There's one of the little.... Crash! Clap! Missed it... Fortunately their Scottish cousins, the dreaded by some midges, leave me alone altogether so I will settle for that, most summers.