"For a long time I lived without hating anything much. Today, I positively hate flies. Even thinking about them brings tears to my eyes. A life entirely devoted to wiping them out seems to me a great destiny. I mean the flies of Asia; those who have never been out of Europe are no judges of the matter. In Europe flies keep to windows, to sticky liquids, to the shade of corridors. Sometimes they even wander on to a flower. They are no more than shadows of themselves, exorcised – that is to say, innocent. In Asia they are spoilt by the abundance of the dead and the abandon of the living, and they have a sinister insouciance. Tough and relentless, smuts from some horrible material, they are up with the sun and the world is theirs. Once it is daylight, sleep is impossible. At the slightest hint of repose, they take you for a dead horse and attack their favourite morsels: the corners of the lips, around the eyes, the eardrums. You find yourself asleep? They venture forth, get in a panic, and in their inimitable manner buzz up channels of the most sensitive mucus membranes in the nose, at which point you leap to your feet, retching. But if there is a cut, an ulcer or a spot that hasn’t yet healed over, you could perhaps doze off for a bit because they will make a beeline for that, and their tipsy immobility then – replacing their odious agitation – has to be seen to be believed. You can then observe one at leisure: it has no obvious appeal, is not exactly streamlined, and its broken, erratic, absurd flight, designed to get on one’s nerves, is beneath contempt. The mosquito, which one would happily do without, is an artist by comparison."
From The Way of the World
by Nicolas Bouvier