Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Secret Fear of Bees

A long time ago, I developed a severe and somewhat irrational fear of bees. I say 'somewhat' because even though the event that formed the root of my fear was totally traumatizing, intellectually I know that bees are not the big baddies my brain makes them out to be.

My subconscious, however, isn't convinced.

It was July and my brother's birthday. I can't quite recall, but I know it was somewhere in the eight, nine or ten age range for him because I was on the cusp of puberty. We usually had semi-big parties for his birthday, since the summertime afforded more space for rambunctious guests. The usual family, friends and neighbors were there.

Growing up I was the only girl in the neighborhood. One neighbor had four sons, another had two and yet another had one. And then there was my brother and me. Naturally I was rather tom-boy-ish, but by fifth grade I was already sporting tiny breast buds and well aware that play time as usual was probably going to change. So was this one neighbor kid named Tim, who used to pinch my bottom and offer up what he though were encouraging words on my new, um, developments.

Anyway, my brother's birthday party. We were all playing outside and running around, consuming near fatal doses of sugary soda and cake with everyone under the age of twelve and over the age of two. A game of hide-and-seek commenced, and I volunteered to help my cousin Nicole, as she was one of the youngest kids playing. We decided to hide under the shrubs in front of my house, and she easily scootched her little three year old self into the perfect hiding spot. As you can imagine, my ten, eleven or twelve year old body didn't fit quite as well. As I crawled into place, I dislodged a hornets' nest above me. Luckily, it wasn't super big, but it landed squarely on the middle of my back.

It only took a few seconds for me to realize what was going on. I grabbed my cousin and literally tossed her over the porch railing and started screaming. As I tried to make my way out of the shrubs I inadvertently grabbed a handful of the nest when I reached for some limbs to hold onto. I was getting stung all over my back, neck, head and now my right hand.

When I finally separated myself from the shrubbery, a crowd was waiting. One neighbor, who was a nurse, took charge of the situation. I had a countless number stinging insects trapped inside my clothing, so she immediately starting stripping me down in the middle of my front yard. Once she had me naked, save for my underpants, she instructed me to get into the shower. My mom came with me. I thought she was there to kill off the remaining hornets that were trapped in my hair, but more likely she was there to make sure I wasn't going to pass out or have an allergic reaction.

The whole ordeal probably only lasted two or three minutes, but it felt like an eternity. In the end I only suffered just under two dozen stings. They were painful, but a little aspirin paste applied to the sites helped ease the pain. However, the humiliation of having my entire family, my entire neighborhood and my brother's entire hockey team see my nearly naked body as I flapped and screamed in the front yard is something that still makes me cringe today.

All of this is my very long way of trying to make amends for totally knocking over an old man last week while trying to dart away from a bee. I hope that by sharing this humiliating story with the world wide internets I'll earn some sort of cosmic forgiveness.

Next time, ask me to tell you about the time I got head lice.

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Lora said...

This is like a nightmare. Seriously. There are few things in life that are truly like a nightmare, and this is one of them.

susan said...

Oh my lord.

And what Lora said since my brain won't quit shouting "oh my lord!" long enough for me to form my own coherent comment.

Also? Oh my lord!

Arizaphale said...

OH YEAH!!!! NO WONDER you are scared of bees. SERIOUSLY! My heart is palpitating just reading this and I don't really mind bees that much. It's the numbers I think that would do my head in. And yes I can also TOTALLY feel your pain, once the buzzing and stinging had stopped, of humiliation at being exposed like that. Couldn't some of the adults have gathered around you to shield you from view?????? Too close to the bees perhaps? Mind you, thank God for your neighbour! I don't know what I'd do if I was faced with a kid in that situation. (well, maybe I do now. Without the stripping in front of the hockey team psrt)

carrie said...

oh...i think you are COMPLETELY justified and it is not irrational at all. yikes.

Leslie said...

Ohh, ouch. Great, painful storytelling (on a variety of levels!). Funny: I was just telling some people yesterday about my head lice episode. My sibs and I caught it from some rich cousins, and my mother loved it so much that she told EVERYONE for weeks.

Joan said...

I sat totally engrossed in your plight with my mouth agape... and then when the hockey team was mentioned, I cringed too :(
The bites I'm certain were gone soon enough, but the hockey team was there to stay. I sympathize completely.

Nice to find you Amy Jo, and Ironically enough I'm in southern Pa. with a son named Sam too :)