The Mosquito Effect

Mosquito Drill. In September 2005 I attended a KaraNet party in Klagenfurt, not only along with many other users and dear friends, but also lots of mosquitoes. At one time Thomas decided to simply let the little blood-suckers do their feasting upon his hand, and I took some macro pictures.

A bit later some of us were sitting in the shade of a tree in a circle and philosophised to our heart’s content. When another thirsty mosquito tried to approach me, I slapped it but did not kill it. The creature fell to the ground, obviously hurt and suffering in whichever way a small insect is capable of suffering. My dilemma was enormous: should I kill that innocent living being to alleviate its pain? Or would it survive on its own? Is a mosquito of “lesser worth” than animals we hold dear, like cats or dogs? Are they not equal?

While I was pondering, the bruised mosquito disappeared between the blades of grass; a few minutes later another one sat down on my arm. I thought to myself, ‘this seems well-deserved – now I shall not raise my hand to interfere.’ The mosquito found a good spot and … drilled. It played havoc with my arm. For unknown reasons (maybe my attention was so intensely focused on the procedure, maybe feelings of remorse?) the sharp piercing sensation exceeded even the most intense pains delivered by dentist’s tools. I endured it, groaning, biting my teeth, and my friends probably thought I was crazy…

Fight or Flight. Recently, amidst a very interesting conversation with Thomas, a mosquito sat down right between his eyebrows. He noticed but did not react, and the creature sucked until it was sated enough to drop to the floor. I was quite impressed with his composure. – A bit later I felt a soft stinging on my left shoulder, turned my head and simply registered another mosquito.

Then, within the smallest fragment of a second, I panicked and slapped my shoulder, as though my life were in severe danger! Only a few seconds later I realised that my memories of the “painful experience” from Summer 2005 had just triggered a primal (and quite disproportioned) fight-flight reaction. Indeed not the most convincing display of mindfulness! But next time I shall hopefully intercept the process and carefully examine my delayed reaction. It would be a shame to not overcome this little mosquito trauma. :-)

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