The Loh Life

Summer Guests, Park Three: Pool Party

Sandra Tsing Loh kills fruit flies.

I have no solutions to our nation's major problems - the budget, health care, immigration.  But, I have learned how to get rid of fruit flies!  From YouTube!  That's right!  So many people are making homemade videos about it, there should be a dedicated channel - "America's Got Fruit Flies."

It's a do-it-yourself science project that's brilliantly simple!  You take a clear plastic deli container, fill it with an inch of apple cider vinegar, snap on the lid and poke holes in it.  Fruit flies crawl in, but they don't come out!

At least, that's what was supposed to happen.

My first problem was that instead of regular apple cider vinegar, my dreamy Whole Foods partner Charles mistakenly brought home some pricey organic apple cider vinegar.  "It's like loading mouse traps with camembert!"  I exclaimed.  And it couldn't be as nastily tantalizing as the cheap stuff.

Oh well, I assembled my two shabby deli containers, and indeed, the clouds of fruit flies remained immune.  My household felt sorry for me.

But after an hour, a few ambled in, seemingly curious about the sheer ridiculousness of this gambit.  And weirdly, the more that did, the more that came.  It was like, "Hey!  What's going on?  Some kind of party, I guess, where everyone's floating around motionless on their backs.  I want in!"  I became euphoric.  It was fun to keep running into the kitchen to see how many fruit flies I was harvesting.

A friend had just started a Kickstarter campaign for her film project and was complaining on the phone about the underwhelming results.  "I know," I say.  "Every time I post anything on Facebook my subscribers drop.  But with insect traps, you just watch that clicker go up, up, up!"  I got her excited about exterminating rats as maybe a more uplifting summer project.

But now, of course, my tween daughters - the ones first horrified by the fruit flies - are wailing that it's not nice to kill animals.

"I'm not!" I exclaim.  "On the back porch, I've laid out all the fruit they can eat.  It's not my fault they're skipping that buffet to come into the kitchen and crawl into these vinegary baths of death."  At which point my nerdy younger daughter says that's not fair because fruit flies only have 100,000 neurons.  What?

Damned if I do and damned if I don't, I feel like Paula Deen!  Everyone used to love her because, as a person who actually served a cheeseburger between two donuts, she's a mad character from the South, and now everyone is horrified because - surprise - she's a mad character from the South!

But, can she make a fruit fly trap?  Perhaps that can be her next plaintive homemade video.  I'll watch!


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