Monday, March 23, 2009

Man vs Nature

My wife (bless her heart) was getting the lawnmower out of the old wooden shed that sat without suitable foundation, right on the dirt. That’s no way to build a shed. But in my defense, the shed was there when I bought the property. I would have done the proper thing and put the shed up on cinder blocks. Like my cars.

But I digress.

So, my wife came into the shop complaining about a big bumble bee that had nested under the shed and wouldn't let her get near the shed door. She could not retrieve the lawnmower.

After I did the exaggerated roll of the eyes that smugly indicated my male superiority and greater understanding of my dominion over the natural world (I may have sighed audibly as well so as to make sure that Dar knew – in the event that she had failed to notice the roll of the eyes -- that I was being put out to have to help her get ready to cut the grass)….

…I got up from the wheel and, as I dried my hands on a shop towel, I explained to her that, "Bees are not aggressive. If you simply ignore them, they will just leave you alone.” Then I grabbed the flyswatter that hung by the door, doubting that I’d need a weapon, but caution, preparedness, valor – something along those lines vaguely occurred to me. Thus armed, I walked out back to take care of a little bee business.

The sucker flew directly at me. I mean, he flew AT me. DIRECTLY at me. He meant business. And I was unprepared

I don’t know what it’s called when you do the opposite of ducking – wherein you jerk your head back REAL quickly -- but that’s what I did first. The backwards duck. Then I darted to the side, flailing at the air with the flyswatter, swinging it with all the macho flair of a young girl swinging a badminton racket. Really, not even that much macho. And no flair.

Now the bee was still coming at me -- at one time darting directly toward my bare legs, the next time buzzing upwards at my face again.

This up and down tack the “not-aggressive” bee had employed had me alternately ducking my head, then whipping it back away from the charging beast, all the while kicking my legs backward to avoid allowing it to land on my legs.

This little dance of mine began with me spinning in a circle, all the while trying desperately to keep my eyes on the bee so that I could continue to dodge it. Eventually I began to run …… backwards -- eyes still on the bee -- across the yard and hopefully away from the bee's home.

The bee did not stop its pursuit. It continued to go at face and leg. I continued to backpedal. And cuss. A lot.

Because I was backpedaling, the bee seemed to be easily able to keep up with me. I decided that I had to, at some point, finally take the risk and make the strategic move to turn around and actually run full speed away from the thing.

And so I summoned up the courage to finally turn around. That was just about exactly where the mailbox stands at the edge of our yard. Well…….not “just about”. It was exactly where the mailbox stands. Stood. That’s where the mailbox stood. At least until I hit it full speed and spinning ahead.

The mailbox and I went down HARD. I hurt. I won’t say exactly where the mailbox hit me. And please don’t point out to me that it was actually me who did the hitting. That kind of “pointing out” is called “insult to injury”. And the injury was bad enough. – I was left with two bruised “things” and not a shred of dignity.

After I recovered a bit, I went inside. There was still a yard to be cut, a lawnmower to be retrieved, and, God help me, a bumblebee to kill.

As I remember that day, it was a summer day and the temps were every bit of the upper eighties. I came out of the house with sweatpants OVER my jeans, a sweatshirt OVER a long-sleeved flannel shirt, a hat (balaclava that covers the face), gloves, a scarf, my old glasses (a fashion of the 70’s – HUGE lenses that covered a good portion of my face). There was not a square inch of skin showing anywhere on me. And I was carrying a can of wasp and hornet spray – the kind that shoots in a stream.

I killed it.

Just one more small victory for man in the ongoing, “Man vs. Nature” struggle.


  1. Downed by nard-rif-ical force! Good thing the mailbox gave way!

    *Note to self:
    Do not mount mailbox on cement blocks!

  2. That is one of my favorite stories of yours. I have it printed out and share it now and then with friends. Great!!!!!