Sunday, August 31, 2008.
This is also the date I gave myself the second case of hives I’ve had, both in my life and in the last three months. The two things I’ve eaten in large quantities this weekend are bing cherries and Handel’s Banana Cream Pie Icecream. Let’s all cross our fingers that the hives come from the former as I am currently polishing off the last half of a pint of Banana Cream Pie icecream for dinner. Plus, I’m already allergic to Birthday Cake and being allergic to both cake and icecream is unacceptable. I will not stand for this shit, I tell you.
Bee. Bee hive. Hives. You can see how I get off track here, but I digress.
On Sunday we grilled out with some friends and as we lounged around with distended bellies drinking bottles of MysteryMan’s second batch of homebrew… I saw a bee. My first observation about bees is that they fly like their drunk. I always assummed this was because bees are generally accompanied by at least one person who is screaming bloody murder and flapping their arms around like an over-caffinated chicken.
I refrained from the crazed chicken dance and just observed my bee. He landed on some grilled sweet corn, and I was curious… what did the bee want with my corn? He inspected the kernels, found a suitable piece, moved his mandibles around it until he found a place he could pierce, and proceeded to carve a circular hunk out of the kernel that was twice the size of his head, and then fly off with it.
I don’t know why I found that rather amazing. Maybe because it’s like the anti-fly… this is an insect and even though yes, I’ve seen the Bee Movie, mostly I think of insects (other than ants) as fairly arbitrary. Who knows what they’re doing and why? But this bee had a purpose. He came back 3 more times and kept systematically carving chunks out of my ear of corn and taking them back to his hive somewhere in the woods. (I only had to threaten one person who removed their shoe to squash my bee with the dismemberment of very important parts of their body to make sure he had safe passage.)
Then I thought, why not save the hardworking bee some trouble? So I cut a few kernels off the cob for him, and bless his little bee heart (or whatever is inside their exoskeleton) he picked up a whole kernel, which was like twice his body mass and started carrying accros the table in fits and starts. Two inches to the left… down… three inches to the right… down. This bee was determined. Finally he set it down, examined his prediciment, and then proceded to use his mandibles to cut grips in the kernel so that he could get a better hold of it… and then carried it off into the distance.
Even the naysayers at the table were impressed.
And I thought, I have had that exact same experience in my life. Trying to carry around sheets of drywall or the 200-pound solid wood doors in my house. Purpose. Determination. Busting your but to drag around something twice your body weight. Having to set it down, readjust, play at being MacGyver… but in the end, getting the shit done. That bee is maybe 1/1000th of my size but he and I have been in the exact same spot. Had parallel experiences. That’s something unique about life that I don’t think most people recognize. Or care to recognize.
Most people would have crushed that purposeful, determined life out with a shoe.
Days like Sunday make me glad I’m not anywhere close to being most people.