Sting, stang, stung
I guess I've got sweet blood.
I've known I was an easy target for stinging creatures for a long time now. I still haven't quite figured out why they like me. Yet because I am well aware that flying insects are truly WMDs (Wasps of Mighty Destruction), I am pretty sensitive to their presence.
That hypersensitivity is probably the reason that when I am caught unaware by one buzzing by my ear or face, I tend to lose all composure and simply run away yelling. My neighbor in Monticello witnessed this headlong flight from what looked like nothing from his side of the street one day. That red wasp chased me from the front yard to the back driveway before I lost him.
On two different occasions in the past couple of years, they dive-bombed me from wasp nests tucked under the eaves of our carport. My neck was the target one day. My scalp received their ire on another.
I was doing absolutely nothing to them. Tossing kitchen trashbags into a green can shouldn't provoke a wasp's wrath. Neither should power blowing a dirty driveway. However, on both occasions, I earned a welt from wasps. Red wasps, in particular, graciously leave you with a throbbing reminder of their attack.
I had hoped our move to Virginia made peace with the pests. I assumed that whatever contract was out on me in Arkansas was nullified across state lines. Surely their sting had no jurisdiction so far from home.
Yet blood is thicker than wings, and Wednesday night at 2:00 a.m., I was stealth stung.
It's the middle of January here. Cold. Wasps, bees, etc. - supposed to be out of commission; people should be none of their buzzness during this time of year.
Yet, the agony struck suddenly. Because of my familiarity with sting pain over the years, I grasped the reality of what happened in a nanosecond. My wife was more skeptical... and mad. You see, my revelation happened like this:
Zzzzzz... (from both sides of the bed)
A liquidly fluid moment of me leaping from the bed, screaming, throwing back covers and landing on my feet. Yes, it was all in one smooth motion. I was quite proud of my dexterity - in spite of the pain. A dash across the room to the light switch flooded the bedroom with illumination.
Carolyn was unimpressed. Even wrathful.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!!"
"I JUST GOT STUNG!"
"No, you didn't. The cat probably clawed you through the bedspread."
Sure enough, there sat the dazed kitten - having been flung over the end of the bed in my liquid fluid motion referred to above.
Enter a moment of self-doubt.
Yet, the throb on my leg - and after inspection, the wound, ushered in a surge of confidence.
"NO, I WAS STUNG!"
My powers of deduction and observation now fully functional - in spite of the hour - I began to separate the bed coverings like the layers of an onion. And what did Sherlock Noble find? Between the bedspread and the electric blanket - both above the sheet - a crafty critter with a little walkie talkie whispering, "My position has been compromised. I repeat; my position has been compro... SMACK."
Yes. Without regard to our present culture of sustainability, I slaughtered the wasp with my houseshoe. Unceremoniously, I then flushed him.
My next liquid smooth fluid motion was slipping back into bed, dragging the covers back over me, and casting a smug look of supreme stinging insect knowledge at my now-incredulous spouse.
Unfortunately, she fell asleep rather quickly - oblivous to the fact that she was supposed to lay awake in self-recriminating guilt for hours for having doubted me. It was I who lay there checking Twitter, Facebook and playing Paper Toss until my leg quit throbbing.
I was relating this tale to VT BCM Director Darrell Cook at Panera this morning when a revelation struck me about my wasp curse.
Years ago, I remember vividly one beautiful day in Little Rock watching bees buzz among the clover in our yard when a wonderfully siblingish idea came to mind. After coaxing my sister Amy outside, I then began to demonstrate my liquid fluid reflexes by showing her that "I was so fast" that I could catch a bee and throw it without harm.
I demonstrated this throw a few times so quickly that I knew she was unable to determine that it was an air bee I was throwing. Then came the challenge.
"Let's see if you're that fast."
I do remember having to encourage her and with brotherly love assure her that she was, indeed, a very fast girl for her age.
After a few moments of watching them - I'm assuming getting the timing in her mind right - she bent, scooped and threw. But intermingled with her smooth motion was also a loud scream. And a look of furious awareness.
I don't even remember her saying anything to me. She ran past me into the house, crying loudly.
I stood there uncomfortably. In doubt. I had not thought past the fun of the moment. Sounds like a great sermon, doesn't it?
I was still standing there among the clovers when the front door opened again. Amy came out. Behind my dad.
The rest is thankfully fuzzy. I do remember him saying something like, "Did you tell your sister she could throw a bee?"
That incident, I realized this morning at Panera with painful clarity, may be the source of my wasp curse.
So... neighbors and friends... if you see me running with panic about my yard this summer from what appears to be nothing, you know now. Wasps have jurisdiction from state to state, and they know where I am.