The Curious Case of the Circling Flies

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I am vexed. The flies fly into the house. They congregate in the centre of rooms and fly in small circles for hours on end. There are dozens of them. They give the living room the air of slaughter-house - it’s not a good vibe. I can’t figure out why they fly in circles under the lights…the lights are not on. They don’t really fly anywhere else. Sometimes perhaps in small circles around the pineapple, but mostly it’s in the centre of the room under the light.

I have spent hours trawling the internet looking for an answer to this question. If Yahoo Answers is anything to go by, it seems that I am not the first person to wonder why flies fly in circles in the centre of rooms. I wonder what was wrong with those other people? At least I have an excuse - I’m pregnant, housebound and my world is about to be irrevocably altered. It is therefore natural (and acceptable) for me to flail in a puddle of inane and pointless thought. The other people who think about the flight path of flies are, however, I suspect, insane.

Despite my level of research, I have not come across a conclusive answer to my question. Suggested explanations vary:

  • Flies fly round and round because they are searching for a perch as it is the best position to fight off a rival and for attracting a mate. (I would prefer if flies did not mate in my living room).
  • Flies can’t hover so they circle. (Interesting but doesn’t explain why the circling always takes place right in the centre of the room nor why they just don’t fly in a random pattern).
  • If they flew in a straight line, they would fly into the wall. (Fair point).
  • They are dumb and they have small brains. (So, it would seem are most of the people trying to answer this question)
  • Because they queue up before the lights get switched on in the evening, like for a night club where people rock up really early. (Plausible)

I didn’t get to conclude my research because I had to go back to the hospital today. Because I’m overdue, the midwives wanted me to see a doctor in the hospital so I had to go to the general outpatients clinic. I have been spared this ordeal up to now because I am on a special scheme called Domino which has meant that my ante-natal care has been entirely taken care of by a team of very lovely midwives and also by my very lovely GP. I haven’t had to see any other doctors. I have been sheltered and swaddled in a cocoon of loveliness and warmth. Today my fluffy bubble was rudely and violently burst. Kind of literally too.

I had an appointment for 1.40pm - so naturally I showed up at 1pm and was told that I was number 19. All fine so far. The waiting room started to fill up and by 1.45 there were no seats. The nurses asked that all non-pregnant people stand up and give their seats to the pregnant. By 2pm, there were no seats for even the pregnant people who started to line the corridors in various states of giantness. The hospital was starting to look like a refugee centre, there were babies and buggies and screaming children and heavily pregnant women fanning themselves as they slumped against walls. There were nurses shouting out instructions and handing out cups for urine samples. The toilets were overflowing. By 2.30 they were on number 6. I wanted to cry (and then I saw that the woman standing beside me was number 71 and I felt a bit better).

Across from me, three pregnant teenagers were discussing how they couldn’t wait to get wasted after their babies were born. Since falling pregnant, they had only been drinking cans and were looking forward to some vodka cokes. I wasn’t judging them - I despise the baseless teetotal nazi school of prohibitionist pregnancy advocates. I think replacing vodka with cans is displaying a measure of responsibility (although it really depends on the number of cans they were talking about…). No, what I found disturbing was not the fact that the pregnant tweens were drinking, but rather the fact that I rather fancied the idea of a vodka coke right about then. I don’t even like vodka but I’d just seen a ‘doctor’ emerge from one of the examination rooms and I really wanted to walk up to him and say ‘Despite what you clearly think, growing a beard does not make you look old enough to be a doctor so take off the stethoscope, tuck in your shirt and go out and play in the sunshine’. The thought of trusting my unborn child to the obstetric insight of Baby Doc Trotsky was enough to make me want vodka, with coke. Or - if I was allowed to choose - a margarita - on account of the sunshine.

Thankfully, the child prodigy was not the doctor who eventually emerged calling my number. Instead, I had a suitably professional looking non-man doctor who ushered me into a room, administered a very unpleasant membrane sweep (don’t google it, it’s not fun) and sent me on my deeply un-merry way within 5 minutes without a whole lot of chit-chat other than to tell me that if I failed to birth naturally, I would be induced next Wednesday. As I left they were at number 23…and I felt particularly sad for poor number 71 who was still standing against the wall in the corridor and would probably remain so for several more hours.

Mr Oh made me sandwiches and I have returned to the bean bag to ponder how much pineapple I need to eat to avoid induction and/or ever having to go back to the public outpatients clinic.

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