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Suburban Island

Honeybee on Glass
Thursday, Oct. 02, 2003, 1:03 a.m.

QUESTION: What's with all the insect life?

WHAT I LEARNED: Tennis shoes are versatile.

image from

This afternoon my daughter asked me if I would pick up some wonton soup and steamed rice for her. I can do that. After placing the order for the soup and rice (and a few more things besides) at a little carryout place tucked away in a tired strip mall, I decided to camp out in my car and take a 10-minute break while culinary magic occurred without any further effort on my behalf. I was so tired today that I am too tired to tell you why I was tired. It will make a great diary entry for tomorrow and it has to do with kids and school papers and printers that never work when you need them to print. Now it should be clear why I am too tired to talk about it. Nobody ever told me motherhood required such late hours into the teen years.

So today, I was happy to scamper back to my car, lock myself in, and vegetate for even a few minutes. They were doing some construction in the building a few doors down for the restaurant and that was not very restful but it was quieter than my house on a normal afternoon. What really put a stop to my 10-minute vegetation however, was a bee. It was a little yellow honeybee and it was sitting on my windshield. I normally don't get a chance to see a bee up close because usually I am running away from a bee or chasing a wildly buzzing bee away from a summer table set with my lunch. I might be screaming and waving one hand at a bee while clutching a can of cold Diet Coke in the other. It's rarely pretty. Garden hoses are good for chasing away bees but I don't always have one handy, which is why there is so much running and hand-waving involved in my interactions with the bee world.

But now, as I sat in my car waiting for two wonton soups, double orders of crab rangoon and steamed dumplings, and one large container of steamed rice, I could really study this little citizen of the honeybee community. I had to admit it was kind of pretty in a very black and yellow and even fuzzy kind of way. It was also a tidy sort and spent quite a bit of time cleaning its face and antennae. I was pretty damned impressed.

With a nice thick piece of glass between us, I could enjoy an encounter with one of nature's wonders without one of nature's wonders getting on my nerves. And by the time it flew off to do honey bee things, my carryout was ready. Goodbye little friend. Go make some honey.

Later in the day, I stepped into the garage to get a can of diet coke from the carton by the door. There on the floor was a huge long-legged sort of bug that looked like a mix of cricket and daddy long legs. It also looked like a jumping bug. A jumping bug is much worse than a simple crawling bug because a jumping bug could jump on a person. A person like me, standing in a garage trying to get a soda. A person like me, without a garden hose or someone else to call in and get rid of this bug.

There are moments in the interaction between bug and woman when primal instinct takes over and the gloves come off. In an instant I had grabbed a random tennis shoe and delivered one well-aimed smack at that bug. The shoe hit its mark. It was not a honeybee and I did not say goodbye. I dropped the shoe, grabbed the coke, and shut the door tight behind me.

Sometimes nature is cute and sometimes nature requires a good whack with someone else's tennis shoe.

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Today’s Suburban Strategy: Harry Potter for the grown-up crowd?

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