Monday, September 12, 2011

My Bee Story

I have a lot in my life to be proud of. Two great kids, an awesome husband, and a couple of cats that annoy the shit out of me. And until just recently, I was also proud of the fact that I'd never been stung by a bee in all my three decades on this planet. (Well, I guess I was more embarrassed, really, because people would always look at me funny when I told them this, as if I spent my childhood in a closet. Which is ridiculous, because they let me out for holidays and weekends.) But my sting-free record was shattered this weekend. In Texas. The place with the bugs. BIG FUCKING SURPRISE.

It all went down while my mom was visiting. There was a cold front here in Texas (which means it fell to 80 DEGREES!) so we packed up the kids and went to the zoo. I wore a sun dress because I don't get out often, and have to seize these opportunities to feel human as they present themselves. The first half of the trip was lovely. (Aside from the fact that we were staring at animals held in captivity, eyes pleading for mercy or suggesting revenge...hard to tell.) But once we passed the food court, we'd entered the motherloving BEE EXHIBIT, apparently, because they were suddenly hovering in the air. Everywhere. At first it just seemed that they were near the garbage, but in an instant, they'd quickly surrounded us. We grabbed the kids and started walking briskly away. When we were in front of the carousel, we paused again, and within seconds, AGAIN THEY WERE ON US.

This was my first audible, "What. The Fuck." And the beginning of what may have been the World Record of time spent flailing ones hands like a lunatic. At times I must have looked like I was doing some sort of funky dance move, head jerking to the side, hand up, now down, step to the side, spin, and HELICOPTER ARMS.

I was conflicted, too, because I was worried I was setting a poor example for the children. I didn't want them to be paranoid about bees at such a young age. So, mid-flail, I just made sure to tell the boys not to be scared because "Bees are normally very friendly! This one's just a little lost...err...OHMYGODGETOFFME [HELICOPTER ARMS]"

Next, we zipped past the gift shops and petting zoo, but the bees were never far behind. I looked around us and noticed that no one else seemed troubled by this impossibly EVER PRESENT swarm of bees. I couldn't make sense of it. And I do not exaggerate when I say that we did not pause for more than thirty seconds for about half an hour without swatting, flailing, cursing inappropriately, and fleeing the motherloving scene.

Dumbfounded, we decided to hop on the train and head back toward the front end of the zoo. Things were getting rapidly out of hand, and the kids still didn't understand why we weren't going on the carousel. BECAUSE WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE, KIDS, THAT'S WHY. We bought the tickets as the bees swarmed my head, and I was so frantic to get away that I left them at the counter. When she called back to me, I was still ducking and dodging and JUST TOSS THEM TO ME ALREADY. JESUS CHRIST.

My bad luck had not yet ended, because the train had just left and we had to wait about 15 minutes for the next one to come. At this point, there was a group of people, and AGAIN no one else seemed all to bothered by the bees. (WTF?!) So I tried to get all zen with it and hoped that maybe my energy would will them the fuck off of me. This didn't work, of course, and I continued my dance routine until we boarded the train. AT WHICH POINT THEY FOLLOWED US AND INVITED THEIR GODDAMN FRIENDS.

Mostly, I was worried about the boys being stung. One had been stung twice already and he tends to get a nasty local reaction. The other has never been stung, but has allergies, so I was concerned. But now we were just sitting there on the tracks, waiting for the train to board and had no where to jump and jive. So, I started swatting. And cursing. The people in the cars in front and behind us sat there, quietly taking in the scenery.


I looked down and there were suddenly three buzzing around my feet. Before I could blink, one of them flew up my dress and stung me on the leg. (I'm guessing the sight of my thigh was terrifying and prompted the attack.)


It was ANOTHER TEN MINUTES of battling the bees until we finally took off. During which one of the zoo workers came up and said she'd have someone meet me at the other station with a first aid kit. And, based on her facial expression, a straight jacket as well. I thanked her, but it may have come out more like OHMYFUCKINGGOD JUST DRIVE THE FUCKING TRAIN ALREADY.

The man was waiting for me as promised. He approached the train and looked at the boys, confused. Then he looked at me, my face twisted with desperation and pain. "Oh, it's Mom that got stung!" My mother made a comment about the bee being "naughty" and flying up my skirt, and we all pretended not to hear it (omfg). I proceeded to tell the man about the problem with bees the top half of the park seemed to be experiencing. I mean, shouldn't someone call the CDC or something?! I told about the swarming, the stalking, the divebombing, and the helicopter arms. He looked up at me.

"Ohhh, well, you swatted at it? That explains things..."



PS: My In the Powder Room article went live last week. I tell my story about Plus One's first day of school. And how I wasn't at all neurotic and paranoid about it. Ahem.

Also, Marinka is having a friendly little debate over at her blog today. With me. And it's less friendly than it is super serious and entirely important and on the subject of bathing cats. I won't tell you which side I've taken, BUT CHOOSE WISELY.

AND! My friend, the amazing Rad Megan is having a fun contest on her blog (especially fun if you like The Muppets and/or cooking.) She's an amazing crafter, and if you aren't reading her yet, you should! (She was the one who came up with the line you all loved in my serial killer post. Yes. The porn one.)