Monday, April 2, 2012

"What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening!"*

            I walked into my apartment on Friday afternoon and went to the kitchen to make a snack. There was a dead bee on the windowsill, so I freaked out (just a little) and went to grab a paper towel to clean it up. That’s when I saw bee number two, dead on the other windowsill. Number three was in the sink. I’ll fast-forward to the total body count: eight. Slightly unsettling if you’re a normal human being. Mind-numbingly terrifying if you’re afraid of bees (or spiders, cucarachas, beetles, bed bugs or those fake ladybug-looking things that are yellow or orange instead of red). Also, I’m a little bit allergic to stingy things. Not die-of-anaphylactic-shock allergic, but swell up like the Elephant Man allergic. (Just to be clear, the story of Joseph Merrick kills me, and I don't mean to denigrate him or anything. It's just that I look a bit like him when I swell. Also we share an astrological sign. Leo, in case you're interested.) 
        So I started crying, like a normal, grown-ass adult does, and called my friends Richie and Jerome, who were on their way to pick me up for a movie, and asked them to help me clean up the carcasses, as I’m a big, fat weenie burger who isn’t fit to live on her own or have a letter on her wall.
        Then I went to work online trying to figure out what the hell was going on. The answers ranged from informative to outright horrifying. One lady said they don’t come in through the windows, but through holes in the wall or air ducts, and then they head for the windows because they see the light. (Yay! My screens aren’t broken. But, boo! My walls are?) One guy said he found bunches of dead bees in his house each day and when the exterminator finally arrived, he unearthed a hive that was five layers deep and twelve feet high. (Can’t think about that today or I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.)

One of the many images that underplays the danger of both bears and bees.
        The most comforting thing I learned is that bees bed down when the sun sets, so I didn’t need to worry needlessly while I was sleeping (or trying to sit in my living room or pee or eat or drink water)—as long as I was ready to roll as soon as the sun came up, or, at the very latest, 10 o’clock, which is when the bees go to work for real. (Think of it as the post-coffee break, pre-lunch period, when everyone is really alert.)
        Richie and Jerome helped me by cleaning up the dead bees (Jerome even heroically killed one that was on death's door in the sink) and forced me to buy some Raid (more so I wouldn't be so nervous rather than because they expected me to unleash my wrath on the bees. I don't hate bees, I'm just a little jumpy around them.).
        I called my apartment manager, Sir Robert the Long Winded, on Saturday morning and explained the situation. I was headed to work (one of the few times I felt supremely grateful to be working on a weekend). He said that he’d try to call an exterminator and/or pest control, but that they don’t usually work on the weekends. Really? Don’t they? What if I had a family of tarantulas in my apartment (oh please dear lord never let that happen to me!)? Or a nest of scorpions? That would have to wait until Monday?
        I explained that I’m allergic to bees, though I may have exaggerated the extent of the allergy a bit, and told him that this was a seriously exigent matter.
        And guess what? He took care of it!
        Just kidding, he totally didn’t. And when I called him on Sunday morning, he said that he hadn’t seen any bees in my apartment, so he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. So I reiterated how serious the situation was: that I was afraid to go home and I didn’t want the owner to have to pay for a hotel room for me to stay in while I waited out the hellacious bees (Richie recommended The is close by). Robert T.L.W. said he’d call some more exterminators.
            Well, he did or he didn’t, but anyway no one came and I was super nervous when I woke up this morning. I could hear the hive buzzing in my kitchen—I just didn’t know where they were.
        Fortuitously, I ran into Robert on my way downstairs and he took me on a bee tour. And I took some pictures, which, like most of my pictures, are pretty bad. I don't have any fancy 18x zoom, so just know that the black dots are bees and the window in question is my kitchen.

Those blurry black dots are BEES.

        They’re in the air duct connecting my stove vent to the outside. And they’re having a blast.
        I will end this post now, as it’s far too long, but know this: I do not want to be responsible for the decimation of a beehive.
        I was super nervous putting honey on my yogurt this morning for fear they’d see me through the window and exact their revenge. And what if these bees are Africanized? What if they know that the exterminator is on his way and they come for me like they did for Winnie the Pooh? I cherish nature and all that, but I don’t want to die alone in this apartment covered in pustules and swollen up like an unrecognizable blimp. Aside from hoping to be an attractive corpse and, more generally, not die alone in my apartment, I’m still young and I have a lot of dreams for the future.
Africanized bee, raping a stick?
Honey Bee. Sweet and innocent and gathering nectar.

        More later.

*Jesus Christ Superstar (Norman Jewison, 1973). I’m sorry, I know it’s cheesy, but Easter is just around the corner, after all.

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