The city of Brewster, Washington is in the middle of cherry and apple orchards. During picking season, when the fruit is ripe and the pickers are up on their ladders doing their thing, a lot of fruit (e.g. rejects, ones that get dropped) ends up on the ground. Where it rots. Rotting fruit attracts flies. And so, at certain times of the year, the city of Brewster, Washington is overrun by all types of flying pests. Fruit flies, “regular” flies…you name it - although this year the mosquitoes didn't seem so bad. It’s not like some of the third-world countries you see on TV commercials, but they do get pesky. The guy with the fly-swatter concession stand does a booming business.
For those of us who’ve grown up in cities, flies are a nasty nuisance. We most frequently associate them with steaming piles of dogpoop or dead stuff – not a pleasant visual, to be sure. But out here in farm country, there aren’t a whole lot of dogs per acre. Or cows or other livestock for that matter. So the flies are just…there…there for the fruit. You cannot avoid them. You get used to them.
The first year that I was here, I went into the local supermarket, in which resides a Subway sandwich shop. With two big sliding doors in the building, there was no way to keep the flies out. As I was standing there waiting to give them my order, flies were buzzing around the back of the counter where other customers’ subs were waiting to be dressed. There was a family ahead of me in line…tourists probably but in any case out-of-towners. The father was aghast that flies were landing and crawling around on the food his family would soon be eating. He didn’t say anything to the clerks, but I could tell he was disgusted and not pleased.
It sounds gross, I know: Flies crawling over your food? Yuck! And sure enough, it is disgusting at first. But like I say, for better or for worse, you get used to it. I look at it this way – whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I should be pretty damn strong by now.