Friday, March 26, 2010

Bzzt, Bzzt, Bzzt

Imagine a Crazy Diabetic Man, loose in the streets and wanting to do harm. Armed with syringes and little lancets and always in search of people to stab. You don't have to speak to or bother this man, just somehow stumble across his general vicinity and he may come after you. Stinging you relentlessly.

This isn't an episode plot for Criminal Minds or Law & Order. Actually, it's a reality. No, not a reality show, but something that is happening. Whenever the weather is warm. You see, this type of aggressive, evil, and crazy-stabbing-with-a-sharp-object happens each spring, summer, and fall. You've likely observed this behavior. Possibly, you've been a victim yourself already.

The simple truth: We aren't talking about Crazy Diabetics here. It's about Bees. Wasps. Hornets. Anything That Buzzes and Stings. I write this as a warning to all who might encounter them.

You see, I don't like bees. Or wasps. Or anything really that has the ability and desire to sting. While I'm not a fan of bees by any means, wasps are must worse. They are like the evil cousins of the casual, only-aggressive-when-challenged bees that just want to make honey and sniff flowers. No, these things are pure, unadulterated evil. They know me. Watch for me. Taunt me. Stalk me. Attack. Pure Evil.

I am quite terrified of them, to be perfectly honest. Ever seen a grown man scream and run away like a small child running from the Boogeyman? Yep. Been there. Done that.

Once in college, a stroll through the woods near a little mansion on our college campus led to one Flight of Fear. We were walking ever so peacefully, hand in hand. All was well in the world. Then, out of nowhere, it happened. There was a BZZZZZT in my ear. A buzzing that couldn't be mistaken for anything but a bee, hornet, wasp, or other Creature From Hell that was probably gathering with friends to sting me beyond repair. I jumped about a mile high, and instinctly brushed the swarm away from my body. Then, I ran. It turned out this wasn't a stinging insect. Actually, it was the vibrating pager at my waist. At the time, I didn't have an insulin pump but similar situations have materialized with the pump in later years when it's decided to vibrate, imitating that fearful buzzing sound.

As a newspaper man post-college, I've been confronted by these evil little insects while interviewing a state senator at a waterfront boat race. Yet, in the presence of him and the family, I managed to make a circle around a picnic table before dropping the costly hot dog in my hand and "bee-lining" it to the parking lot. That was somewhat embarrassing, but I make no apologies for it.

Last year, one maliciously landed ON ME as I was innocently walking down the street toward my office. Landed right there on my black pants, on the upper right leg. It stared at me. I was mortified. First, I froze and tensed up in terror. Then, reaction hit. Dropping my work bag, I did a crazy-man dance in place and booked it toward the front of the building at full speed. Swerved to avoid the homeless man in my path, who was dutifully minding his own business and sweeping the sidewalk. Left the bag in that spot for about five minutes, to ensure that the stalking wasp wasn't hovering nearby like a sniper, waiting to strike with a sting on my exposed skin. Fortunately, I made it out of that unscathed.

What causes this bone-shuddering fear, you ask? Am I allergic to stings? No, I'm not. But that shouldn't matter. Does there really need to be a reason? Why shouldn't we be afraid, very afraid, of these little stinging insects? If I ran around carrying a lancet or syringe and stabbing people, there might be some uneasiness created whenever I draw near, right? Right!?

It likely goes back to a situation as a child, when I was stung on the eye. My little cousin and I were outside my grandparents' house, doing whatever it was as children we did. Memory tells me that he had a baseball bat and for some reason was swinging it at the nearby hedge. There apparently was a hive inside those bushes, as was later discovered. My cousin was swinging away, and at one moment I happened to look over his way... Just in time to actually watch a bee streaming toward my little face and fly into my eye. Pain.

This bee was huge. Probably about the size of a basketball. It came at me with the force of a bullet, angrily seeking out vengence for the baseball bat swatting near its home. It probably told its friends. Being that I was one of the two people there, and now years later have lived to tell this tale, you can count on the accuracy of my firsthand, eye-witness account. Trust me.

I'm sure helping the fear was a the tale my grandfather once told me, about a friend of his dying after a bee flew into his open beverage at a Memorial Day Parade, stinging him on the inside of the throat. Oh, it makes me tense up just thinking about it.

Anyhow, this is likely the foundation for my fear of Anything that Buzzes.

This past summer, these above-mentioned wasps made decisive battle moves in our ongoing war. They made homes in strategic places around key areas of my home - by the front walkway, near the garage door, close to the porch, and near windows that I might someday forget are being targeted and open for a breath of fresh air. They are smart. They watch me, flying around with their little black bodies invading my turf. Grilling isn't safe. Playing with the dog is a risk. Lawmowing is possible, but only if you're outside a 10-foot area surrounding the house. And you must be careful at that. Sitting out on the porch with an open drink? Now that's just insanity. A death wish. Hell, I'm lucky I can even dart quickly enough in and out of my garage when it opens to run and fetch the mail.

Usually, I am armed with one of my many cans of wasp-killer that are placed in multiple points inside and outside the house. Just in case. You never know. With wasp hives hidden in the siding and little barely-visible crevices of my house, you must always have the right ammo in case of attack.

Sympathizers will say that bees and wasps have a purpose, that they do good for the environment. Baloney! I don't buy it. Sounds like propoganda to me. I refuse to believe it. They're bent on aggressive domination, and I won't be pursuaded otherwise.

With spring sprung and warmer weather consistently on the horizon, the inevitable presence of wasps in my life is here. I contemplate how I'll deal with them this year. I contemplate whether insulin could be used in the counter-attack, in defense of my body and home. While it might be viable, I'm not about to 1.) Waste my costly life-saving serum on Those Things.. or more importantly 2.) Get close enough to inject insulin into something that has a needle attacked to its body and is bent on stinging me - not once, but over and over and over and.... Nope. Not gonna happen.

So instead, I'll arm myself with cans of spray. Eye my surroundings carefully. Watch my back whenever outside. And know, that even if I can't see it, there might be a Crazy Diabetic-With-Stingers stalking me and waiting for a moment to strike. And sting. Sometimes, all you have is a quick Buzzing before the sting arrives. Just like a CGM vibrating a warning when BG levels get too High or Low, this Buzzing might be a sign in itself. A sign to run. To get out the can of spray. To ward off the stinging that might be moments away. Maybe these little evil insects wear Insect Insulin Pumps themselves, and that's what is buzzing... Really. It doesn't matter. Point is, there's a warning and you can do something about it.

With that, I wish you well on the battlefront. And hope, truly hope, that this post saves your life someday.

7 comments:

Cara said...

You sound about bees like I am about spiders. Ug.

Anonymous said...

Your dad told you to get rid of those nests when it started to warm up. Get some of that stuff and kill them now. Brave Suzi will help you.

Shannon said...

I'm totally with you on this one. I HATE bees (I include all buzzing, stinging insects in the category of "bees").

Our house is old, and a few years ago, we removed all of the drywall upstairs to install proper insulation. In between the stone exterior and the drywall were old hives. Some as big as three feet! I freaked out. Not because there were bees (because there were none), but because there "used to be" bees in there. ICK!!!

I still have nightmares . . .

Michael Hoskins said...

Shannon: OMG. OMG. OMG. Seriously. I wouldn't be living in that house anymore. It was tough enough even going outside last year, with the wasps hanging around... Oh. Oh. I'm getting nervous now, sitting here at my desk. Feel as though I'm being stalked by bees.

Mom: I know. Have to stock up on spray, and kill them off this weekend (hopefully they aren't around yet...) Brave Suzi will have to help, indeed. I've warned her, though, that I won't be held responsible for lack of protection if I'm forced to flee.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

I'm right there with you. (Except that I am allergic to bee stings...apparently when I was about 3, I had to get the ol' epi shot at the ER after getting stung.) Yellowjackets are the WORST. Hate. Them. Actually, all creepy crawly insects and yes, Cara, spiders freak me out. Even now I'm getting this urge to itch. Uck...!

Shannon you are brave, I literally would have run screaming from your house!

olivejooice said...

This post was so hilarious!!

You know, they have these things that you can hang on a tree or whatever, and you pour soda inside, the bees go in but they can't get out! Its pretty effective, my father in law put one up last summer and caught almost a hundred bees in there.

I'm with you though, I hate bees!!!

olivejooice said...

Oh- and I can't believe you were stung in the EYE!!! WTF?!?!?!?!

My first bee sting was in the armpit. :( My mom is from the Philippines, so she put mud on it ( I guess that's what they do where she is from).