Fruit Flies & Proper Questions
I’m staring at a bowl with a ripe cantaloupe in it. The bowl sits on the counter adjacent to a pile of garden tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. A fruit fly floats into my field of vision. I swat it aside mindlessly.
Would you rather never have fruit or never have fruit flies?
For whatever reason, this question pops into my head and I try to figure out which way it goes. Would I prefer to never have fruit? Of course not. Would I prefer to never have fruit flies? I mean, I guess. But if I want fruit then I’m going to have some fruit flies.
Ah, so that’s why it wasn’t making sense. I was asking the wrong question. The question should be: is fruit worth the fruit flies?
The obvious answer is yes. I think about the juicy mango I ate after Sunday’s long run and the steady supply of frozen grapes I keep in my fridge. Bananas in oatmeal. Peanut butter apples.
Of course fruit is worth the fruit flies.
It really had me puzzled for a while… this talk of fruit flies. I read and reread the first question for a couple weeks now, unable to see what I was doing wrong. Baffled as to why it wasn’t making sense.
Turns out I was asking the wrong question.
With a little bit of distance and reflection, I was able to ask myself the obvious question… and, in this case, get the obvious answer.
The former was bound to come into my brain at some point. The latter, simply the blessing of a “stupid question.” But I’d rather know the answer to a “stupid question” than keep making the wrong inquiries.
This is not a blog post about cantaloupe or winged household pests. It’s a blog post about having the courage to ask the right questions, even when you aren’t sure what the answer will be… especially when you aren’t sure what the answer will be.
And then, it’s about being able to act on the answer.