Saturday, September 5, 2009
I try to stay away from creatures that sting. Ants, mosquitoes, and anything in the bee family. Most of the time, I can avoid most stings. I have fallen into an ant hill and if I stay outside at night, I will be eaten alive by mosquitoes, but generally, bees, wasps, and Yellow Jackets have an understanding with me. They gave me traumatic experiences in my youth, so now my adulthood is mostly free of them. It was like an evil exchange.
When I was 5, I was hanging out in the shallow end of a pool. I could not swim yet. Someone had a radio playing and there were lots of other kids around. While I was playing, a Yellow Jacket came and flew around my head. I went into panic mode and somehow managed to run myself into deeper water where I couldn't touch the bottom. I sunk under the water in a panic. I just remember thrashing like a caught fish. Luckily my eyes were open and I could see an inner tube just above me and I managed to pull myself up to breathe again. Ironically, the song playing at the time was Every Breath You Take by The Police. As much as I love the band, I will always have an intense hatred for that song. Obviously the Yellow Jacket nearly drowned me, but the song seemed to mock my experience.
When I was 10, I was visiting my grandmother's trailer and running around in the corn fields and woods near her home. On one particular race into the woods, my foot fell into a yellow jacket hole and disturbed the hive. I ran deep into the woods to this place I was convinced was a prehistoric swamp and hid there. Unfortunately, some of my cousins came to join me and met the angry swarm and one girl was terribly stung. At the time I thought it was some kind of karma for making out with all the other male cousins in the station wagon at night, but really it was just mean of me not to run back to the house and warn them. That was Yellow Jacket guilt learned early.
I didn't learn to be careful, because by the time I was 13, I still got into trouble with those creatures. My friends and I were running in the woods in our neighborhood and managed to disturb another Yellow Jacket home. This time, the swarm was coming for us! Fortunately, there was a pond nearby and we galloped toward it and jumped into the water and stayed submerged until they finally went away. I remember as we were running telling the other girls "We have to run in a zig zag pattern!". I'm not even sure if that works, but we zig zagged all the way to that filthy pond that once had a dead cat in a plastic bag floating in it.
Aside from an incident with Yellow Jackets and Dippin' Dots (an embarrassing moment in Six Flags I do not want to recount), I think I've been left alone by those malicious creatures. Last night though, there was no escaping them. I took my son to soccer practice and noticed they were flying about everywhere. I guess they were attracted to all the tasty Gatorade varieties. None of the other parents seemed happy about them. There is a Yellow Jacket Dance that you can watch whenever one flies around a person. It involves keeping your legs straight, bending forward, bending backward, waving your arms, and shrieking. Usually the women shriek, the men just do a short sort of shout. Everyone was bending and swaying like trees with crazy limbs last night. It was nightmarish. I tried to kill some, but I now learned from Wikipedia (research for this piece) that doing that can send out stress signals for more of them to come out. My daughter happened to be picking clover flowers and there must have been one in the grass and it stung her right in the finger. She's a loud girl, but I never heard a cry like this before. She is a tough girl and after five minutes, was O.K. She just knew now about the danger of the flying yellow menace.
I'm not especially happy with the Yellow Jacket right now. I thought we had a semi-truce going on after some unfortunate incidents in the past. Don't sting my kid for no reason! They will have to send out a million stress signals when I get around them because I have revenge on my mind. I am done dancing and running for them.
Posted by Jessica at 7:37 AM