Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Very Nosy Bee

Bee-ing Nosy
Originally uploaded by Marinade Dave.
Years ago when I was in the restaurant business, my boss, Jack Little, would lay me off during the summer months. He would get school kids on break from college to work for him. They got to earn some spending money and be productive, and I got a chance to go paint houses for the summer. He could get 3 or 4 kids to work for what he paid me and I would make a good amount painting. It worked out well for everyone concerned. I must say, though, that Jack was the best boss I ever had. An all around great guy. Helped you out. Brought kids up on the right track, whether they worked for him or were just customers. And this place was "hang out central" back then.

One summer, I was painting a restaurant that had an embankment out back. It was in an area of Flemington called Turntable Junction, kind of a colonial shopping district. Some of the people who worked there would dress up like Ben Franklin. Very touristy, but, I never heard anyone scream, "To arms! To Arms!" when British tourists came around. It was more like, "Arm the registers!"

Down below the embankment are railroad tracks where the Black River & Western train would run "tourons" as the native colonists would call them, through scenic routes and back. All along that embankment were clusters of ground hornets. I don't know if their homes would be considered townhouses or condos. I never could quite figure that one out. But there were thousands of them, the bees, I mean. They would fly around me constantly, being the nosy and adventurous little critters that they are. From years of experience, I knew they were harmless, unless provoked.

One afternoon I was up on one of the roofs, painting trim and other areas, when I decided to take my lunch break. I broke out my sandwich and, yum, they smelled food. I just swatted them away. No problem. Except for this one pesky little guy. He just kept buzzing around me and my food. I'd chase him away. He'd come back. Finally, when I thought I was rid of him, I took a nice big bite out of my sandwich. I'm chewing and chewing, and of course, I'm breathing through my nose. Nice deep breaths, savoring my meal. All of a sudden, my little buddy came around the corner of my face, right to the front. Thwoop. Right up my nose he went. Deep into the depths of my sinuses.

Oh no.

I just sat there, motionless. I knew what was about to happen. And it did.


Oh, the pain. Excrutiating pain. Sinuses closed up shop. Eyes watered down my face like a Hawaiian waterfall. This was not a funny matter. I didn't know what to do. I got up and walked around trying to shrug off the pain. That didn't work. I knew I had no recourse but to just sit it out. I couldn't put ice cubes up my nose. That bee was gone and he wasn't coming back to apologize. I tried to put my mind on other things. Should I go to the emergency room? What should I do?

The pain only lasted about 15 minutes. Good thing for me, I've never had bad reactions to insect bites or stings. Mosquitos rarely even came after me. I've never had any allergies to my knowledge. Maybe it was payback for the times when I was young and I'd chase other kids around with poison ivy. I never touched anyone with it, though.

After the pain subsided, I went back to work. It didn't bother me at all anymore, but, I don't think I finished my lunch. The bees started buzzing around me once again, but I wasn't afraid. I had probably about the worst thing that could ever happen to me by one of their tribe. Sting me on the arm. Hah! No big deal.

He's still in there somewhere. Probably lodged in one of my lungs. Dead. But I heard that anything in the lungs remains there. The lungs don't dissolve foreign objects.

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