It’s Bee Season again. I am not talking about the sweet-looking, fuzzy, bumble variety drunkenly careening across the sky with oversized bodies and tiny wings that look about as useless as T-rex forearms. I’m not talking about the useful kind that make delicious golden honey and pollinate my plants. What I’m talking about are despicable atrocities of un-bee-coming size: the Carpenter Bees.
These shiny-bottomed nightmares are, for lack of a better word, freaky! Not only do they stare at me unrepentantly from their monstrous compound eyes… Not only do they hover in mid air about a foot from my face, rubbing their hairy front legs together like a criminal eyeing easy prey… Not only do they slam full speed into whatever of my body parts happens to get in their way hard enough to bruise, they are also easily the size of my thumb from the tip to the second knuckle! Despite the fact that more than one person has told me, independently of others, that I have “carnie man hands,” this is one huge bee-yotch.
Apparently, the ones that swarm around my balcony searching for appropriate locations at which to bore new tunnels with their hideous chomp-chomp-chomping are, in fact, beeyotches, since male bees, like many male humans, just hang out at home and impregnate people. Typically I am pro-female and rail against every variety of attack on women. Not so during Bee Season.
The mysterious disappearance of the American bee notwithstanding, I find it very difficult not to wish the curse of colony collapse disorder upon these backward beasts who wear their skeletons on the outside. I have spent many an afternoon earning tennis elbow by swatting away these colossal and colossally unnerving fiends with my tennis racket. They make a fantastic thwacking sound and fly in long, graceful arcs that would make an ancient architect scurry for his drawing pad. The connection of racket to bee is quite satisfying. It’s also quite useless, as these insects are extremely resilient and hardly ever even get wounded by my ferocious beatings! In fact, most of the time they just sort of stall in mid air and turn right around as if nothing has happened, and come back to hover too close and stare at me, rubbing, always rubbing those forelegs, grooming before the feast I am afraid will be made of my face.
It occurs to me that these bees are a metaphor for my addictions, my personal struggles. It seems useless to bat them away, because they always come back, stare me down, and search for tender places to gnaw into, leaving deep, branching, scarring tunnels that could, if left unchecked, cause structural damage and collapse. So I’ve got to. I’ve got to get out that tennis racket, and beat those addictions over their heads, and knock them and knock them away, because if I don’t they’ll take over and breed. And if I just keep standing out there with that racket, if I just keep taking the swings, every once in a while I’ll hit one with such power that it gets cut right in half over the strings and will fall, lifeless Goliaths, at my feet. And then, I will be free.
Oh, it’s Bee Season all right. But I’m armed and ready.
|Photo by Paul Choate, found here.|