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  • Writer's pictureCamellia Phillips

How I Learned to Kill Mosquitos With My Bare Hands

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

We knew before coming to Sicily that the windows in most older homes here don't have screens. Marco once asked his Sicilian father why there are no screens, and he said:

"Eh, mosquitos in Sicilia, they are different."

Marco was obviously dubious, as was I. But what could we do? Prepare for bites, that's what. Because we had a feeling, even then, that the views out the windows and the fresh Sicilian air would be too precious to shut out.

I'm the kind of person who always gets bit by mosquitos first. Everyone else will be fine, and I'll be covered with itchy red bumps that haunt me for days. Once, a single mosquito snuck into our Brooklyn bedroom and bit me on both eyelids. Marco and I spent at least an hour tracking that sucker down.

But turns out that Marco's father was on to something. Mosquitos in Sicily are different.

I can't explain it. Maybe they enjoy the slower pace of life? Maybe the heat and the sun makes them relaxed? I know it makes me relaxed—and bold. Because after the first day I stopped cowering from the mosquitos and went on the offensive.

I kill at least two mosquitos a day with my bare hands, just like Marco's father. I chase them across a room, smacking my palms together until I catch the critters. If they're perched on the furniture or a wall, I slap them dead. I have to say, it's very satisfying.

For his part, Marco has become our in-house fly swatter. Using a hand towel like Indiana Jones' whip, he swats flies out of the air as if he's been doing it all his life.

Of course, now that we honed our skills, we discovered that our downstairs windows have built-in, pull-down screens. But there's still two sets of French doors upstairs that provide plenty of fodder for our new hobby.

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