Monday, January 22, 2018

A Friendly Wasp

So there I was, sitting in the forest watching a squirrel territory, as is my wont. It was the height of wasp season, which put me on edge a bit, but fortunately it was also the height of mosquito season, so I was fully kitted out with a head net, gloves, and long socks so that no skin was open to insects. I even had flagging tape wrapped around my ankles to deter the mosquitoes determined enough to bite through my socks.

With this setup, then, I sat entirely protected from the insect menace. It was a pretty good morning, all things considered. I hadn't seen much squirrel activity, but there was a chipmunk that ran by and barked at me, which was fun. The sun was just beginning to warm the woods when I heard a wasp buzzing around.

Of course, I wasn't worried. It just so happened that I was sitting near some plants that the wasp was investigating. After a little bit, the wasp began to investigate me, flying around my head; the buzz was a bit irritating, but wearing a head net provides a remarkable sense of security.

Soon, the wasp began to land on me. This wasn't ideal, but every piece of my clothing was tucked into another piece of clothing, so I still had nothing to worry about. I kept sitting there with the wasp landing on me, feeling very at one with nature.

After another couple minutes, I noticed that I couldn't see or hear the wasp any more. I supposed that it had flown off somewhere. It was then that I felt a little tingle on my stomach. I was wearing at least three layers of clothing, but it was definitely something right up against my skin.

Now, if I had had time to think things out and consult a few friends about what to do when a wasp is under your shirt, I may have acted differently, but in the heat of the moment I decided that the best move would be to act quickly and crush the wasp against myself. This was not the best move. When I hit my stomach, the tingle turned into several sharp jabs as the wasp became enraged but not incapacitated. I rolled over on the ground and lifted my three layers of shirts and sweaters as quickly as I could, but there was nothing on my stomach except a few stinging spots.

There was a second of calm before I felt movement down my leg. In an amazingly fluid motion I jumped up and removed my jeans. The wasp flew from my leg back up under my shirt, prompting a mad flutter on my part, and then it sped out again from under my shirt and flew off into the trees, apparently none the worse for wear.

It may be a long time before I let a wasp land on me again, head net or no.

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