February 2nd, 2009


The fish and the fly

In the fall of 2007, in the first couple weeks of the MBA, the English and French full-time cohorts spent the day at a "retreat" at a professor's cottage on one of the Rideau Lakes. Most of the day was spent doing team-building activities at a bunch of picnic tables down by the lake, but at the end of the day there was a scavenger hunt, in which English and French groups were combined and the main rule was that the group could not split up.

The scavenger hunt was clearly well-rehearsed, because many of the things on it led to other things. For instance, you needed the lockmaster's signature from the lock down the road, but going down the road would get you lots of other things you needed. And at the locks there were always kids fishing, and some people on boats with ziploc bags, which was critical because one of the things on the list was a live fish.

So you'd end up at the locks, and you'd ask someone for a ziploc bag, and then you'd ask/bribe one of the kids to catch you a fish, and then everyone would put the fish and a bunch of water in a ziploc bag and head back to the cottage, which was about a 15-minute walk.

Whoever got back to the cottage first within the time limit with all 30 things or so on the scavenger hunt list was the winner. I don't remember what the prize was. There was no prize for getting 29 things or for being the second one back.

* * *

Some time last summer I was in the kitchen when I heard a housefly buzzing around my head. He was doing that annoying housefly thing where he'd fly an inch away from my ear, zip around the room, back around my ear, and repeat.

After a few minutes of this I grabbed a magazine and swatted at the fly. Direct hit! He sort of buzzed crookedly to the rug. I went to grab a paper towel to pick him up but when I got back he was gone. I looked around to make sure Rasha hadn't eaten him, but Rasha wasn't around.

I found him on the windowsill. He was still alive and had clearly flown up there, and he was doing that front-leg-rubbing thing that flies do. But I could come right up to him with my finger, right in front of him, and he wouldn't fly away. I guess I stunned him. When I came back a few minutes later he wasn't on the windowsill anymore. I don't know where he went.